Traveling around Alaska this summer? Make the drive down to Valdez and discover our small seaside community nestled in the beauty of Prince William Sound. Valdez offers something for everyone, including numerous free attractions that are great for families or other groups. 

The Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum

One of Alaska's finest small museums, the Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum, located on the campus of Prince William Sound College, is back open in 2021! The Whitney Museum offers visitors spectacular displays of Alaska's wildlife, history, and Native art. The best part is that the museum entrance is free! If you're planning to make a visit, the Whitney Museum is open this summer Monday- Friday 9 AM to 12PM & 1 AM to 5 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 12 PM & 12:30 PM to 4 PM. The museum is closed on Sundays.

a taxidermy muskox on display in a museum

Photo by Jiyeon Juno Kim

Valdez Glacier Lake

Valdez Glacier is a valley glacier located in the Chugach Mountains around Valdez. The runoff of this glacier forms beautiful Valdez Glacier Lake, just a short drive from downtown along Airport Road. Free parking is available along the lake shore, provided by the City of Valdez's Glacier View Park. The lake shore is a great area to walk along and spot icebergs in the lake that have calved off of the face of Valdez Glacier. 

ice bergs in a Valdez Glacier LakePhoto by Gary Minish

Crooked Creek 

Crooked Creek is a natural spawning area teeming with pink and chum salmon in July and August, respectively. The pond and stream area situated on the Valdez Duck Flats, and allows visitors to view the salmon spawning process up close from the safety of an overlook platform.. In addition to salmon viewing a nearby U.S. Forest Service Cabin at the Creek which is open from May to September. The cabin offers friendly and informative staff to educate visitors on the surrounding habitat and wildlife with interactive displays and lectures. The spawning salmon also attract bears to the area, so remember to stay bear aware. Free parking is available on site. 

a group of people observe salmon in Crooked CreekPhoto by Amanda Bauer

Keystone Canyon Waterfalls

One of the most stunning sights to see around Valdez are the cascading waterfalls in Keystone Canyon. The most impressive are Horsetail Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Parking areas for both waterfalls are available along the Richardson Highway. The parking area for Horsetail Falls allows visitors to pull up directly in front of the falls, allowing visitors to get close to the cascading water. Bridal Veil Falls is along the other side of the canyon from the highway, but can still be viewed easily from a pull-over spot. If you have a little bit of time, consider walking along the Goat Trail to gain better views of Bridal Veil and other nearby waterfalls. The trailhead for the Goat Trail is located near the parking space for Bridal Veil. 

a man with a baby on his back points to three waterfalls in a lush canyonPhoto by Amanda Godin

Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery

One of the best spots for viewing wildlife around Valdez is the Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery on Dayville Road. Millions of pink and silver salmon return to the hatchery each summer, and the area becomes a hotspot for bears, eagles, and marine mammals coming in to feed on the salmon. The best time to view the returning salmon at the hatchery is July through October. Free self guided tours are available along the hatchery walkway May through October. The self-guided tour is open at all times unless there is bear activity along the walkway. View the fish ladder and learn the history and economic benefits of the hatchery, as well as the types and life cycles of this amazing species through interpretive display panels and interactive videos.

The Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery in Valdez, Alaska

Photo by Selah Bauer

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