Valdez and the surrounding Chugach Mountains are home to hundreds of glaciers, and some of our most amazing glaciers are the easiest to access! We invite you to visit Valdez and explore our five magnificent and accessible glaciers: the Columbia, Meares, Shoup, Worthington and Valdez Glaciers. Explore these glaciers via hiking, helicopter, tour boats or kayak (depending on the glacier).
What to Do: Summer
Day-long or extended tours of Prince William Sound will take you to the best vantage points for glaciers, sealife, and shorebirds. Excursion vessels, rental boats, charters, and sail boats depart from the Small Boat Harbor for fishing, sightseeing and lodge transport. Flightseeing trips over some of the most impressive mountains and glaciers anywhere are regularly made all summer in helicopters and planes.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy both inland and ocean options in Valdez. Guided raft trips will take you past towering waterfalls of Keystone Canyon. Fly-outs and drop-offs are possible to remote locations in the Sound and Chugach Mountains. Skim the seas on a guided nature kayak tour or take an extended camping trip. Be sure to sample Valdez's rich history by visiting one or all three of the local museums.
Wild berries are an integral part of a hiker's experience in the Valdez area. From late July until the first snow, one doesn't have to look far to find them on the trails that surround the town. Salmonberries and raspberries abound in the undergrowth along paths, while blueberries are generally located higher on hills and around streams or other moist mossy areas.
The Valdez Small Boat Harbor is a 511 slip harbor with 65’, 50’, 42’, 40’, 32’, 30’, 24’ and 20’ slips and approximately 900’ of transient dock space. The Harbor is open 7 days a week all year. Office hours are 8:00AM to 10:30PM from May 15 to September 1 and 8:30 to 5:00PM the rest of the year.
Summer time in Valdez brings a myriad of fun things to do. Valdez has unprecedented access to Mother Nature in full force and is home to many land animals, sea life, birds and more. Wildflowers grace the miles of trails in and around Valdez. Humpback and orca whales make their home in the Prince William Sound. Glaciers nest atop towering mountains as majestic waterfalls pour from the melting ice and snow. Some glaciers reach all the way to the ocean and greet the tide with their impressive size.
Whether you find yourself on land or sea, there’s always something to do in Valdez. Experiencing the Prince William Sound is a must. Surrounded by the Chugach National Forest (the second largest National forest in the U.S.), the Prince William Sound contains various tidewater glaciers including Columbia Glacier ( the largest tidewater glacier in South central Alaska), and Meares Glacier (one of two advancing tide water glaciers in North America).
Valdez boasts some of the most scenic and historic trails in Alaska. Trails in and around Valdez vary in length and difficulty ranging from the easy one mile round trip Dock Point Trail to the more difficult Shoup Bay Trail. There is certainly something for everyone to enjoy. Dock Point Trail is located next to the Small Boat Harbor and features beautiful south facing views overlooking Port Valdez.
Get a bird's eye view of the spectacular area around Valdez. See huge mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, the Prince William Sound and a myriad of wildlife. Click here to see list of local helicopter tour companies.
Valdez has excellent paved bike trails along the highway from town to the Robe River Subdivision and out Dayville Road. There are many dirt roads around Valdez for mountain biking. An especially scenic ride is out the Mineral Creek Road. Call the VCVB office for more information.
Brown bears and black bears flourish in Valdez due to the abundant fish and plentiful berries for bears to eat. Every year countless people come here to witness the bears up close and personal. Although uncommon, bears will attack humans and their pets when they are feeling threatened. Conversely, it is increasingly common that bears are shot and killed unnecessarily because of avoidable human behavior.
Our beautiful waterfalls and glaciers are pathways to adventure for ice climbers and hikers. Summer time is a great time to climb glaciers. Whatever challenge you are looking for, whether top-roping or multi-pitch lead climbing; there are dozens of routes around Valdez that will suit your needs. Local Valdez guides are available to assist you with your hiking or climbing adventure. See the Tours and Attractions page for more information.