Proclaimed one of “America’s Most Scenic Roads” by Travel + Leisure and known to locals as the “Adventure Corridor,” road tripping to Valdez from either Anchorage or Fairbanks along the Richardson Highway is worth the extra effort. A drive down the Richardson Highway offers visitors views of glaciers, waterfalls, towering mountains and expansive scenery. If driving from Anchorage, the picturesque Glenn Highway and Richardson Highway converge alongside the nation’s largest national park, Wrangell-St Elias, home to nine of the 16 tallest peaks in the United States.
Along the way, the community of Glennallen provides gas, food and lodging needs before continuing on to the Richardson Highway. Around milepost 29, watch for the sign for Worthington Glacier, one of Alaska’s most accessible glaciers, while winding through the breathtaking Thompson Pass. As one of the most visited sites in the Copper River Basin, Worthington Glacier State Recreation Site offers visitors parking and paved walking paths, which lead to glacier viewpoints as well as interpretive signage along the way. There is also great blueberry picking in this area in the fall.
A little further down the road, visitors will want to pull over and take in the majesty of the awe-inspiring Keystone Canyon, a place of breathtaking waterfalls, magnificent geology and fascinating history. Horsetail Falls and Bridal Veil Falls cascade over towering canyon walls, greeting travelers as they pass through. Keystone Canyon is located between mileposts 14-17 on the Richardson Highway.
There are various ways to get up close to these spectacular waterfalls: Drive through the Keystone Canyon and park at one of the various pull-outs. Or raft the Lowe River, which runs directly in front of Bridal Veil Falls. Stretch your legs and hike the 1.6 mile long Goat Trail that puts hikers above the Bridal Veil Falls for a remarkable birds-eye view.
Once past Keystone Canyon, it’s just a short 15-minute drive to the seaside community of Valdez, where towering mountains and impressive views of Prince William Sound await.