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Shoup Bay Trail

Shoup Bay Trail is divided into two parts: Section A and Section B. The trail is maintained by the Valdez Adventure Alliance - contact them if you'd like to volunteer!

A wooden sign for a hiking trail

Photo from Valdez Adventure Alliance

Shoup Bay Trail Section A

"This iconic Valdez trail leads hikers along the scenic edge of Port Valdez. It is an out and back trail that extends about 3 miles to Gold Creek."
-Valdez Adventure Alliance

Section A of the Shoup Bay Trail runs from the trail head to Gold Creek bridge. This scenic tract transverses the West Mineral Creek flats, running through an alder forest. It then opens out onto the grasslands after 8/10 a mile. Many wildflowers and interesting prospects can be seen for the next 2/10 of a mile until the trail starts to climb.

After crossing 2 small streams (caution: water levels change with weather conditions) the trail begins a steep ascent offering views of Valdez to the east and Valdez Bay to the south and west. A steep descent brings one onto Gold Creek and then to the camping area and bridge. The trail to the left before the bridge leads to a camping area with a firepit, restroom and food lockers.

During 1914, the Budd Mining Company was making preparations to start hydraulic operations in the basin above the falls as it was believed that gold placers existed in paying quantities. However, during the summer of that year, work was stopped owing to a proposed change of ownership.

a hiking trail map

Photo from Valdez Parks & Recreation. View full trail guide

Trail Details

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Estimated Time: 4 hours round trip
  • Distance: 6.5 miles round trip (approximately 10.46 km)
  • Elevation Gain: 680 feet (approximately 207 meters)

How To Get There

The trail starts from the parking area located on the left at the west end of Egan Street. The track is wide and easy going with a few bridges and boardwalks in place. After about 1.2 miles, a short side trail leads down to the beach. The main trail, now being back in alder growth, starts a steep ascent to break out after a while and offer good views. Then a steep descent to the Gold Creek Bridge and camping area.

An aerial photo of a coastal hiking trail

Photo from Valdez Parks & Recreation

Shoup Bay Trail Section B

Section B of the Shoup Bay Trail runs from the Gold Creek Bridge to the north end of Shoup Bay. Starting from the bridge, the trail runs through a grove of spruce trees. It will then start a gradual, and at times steep, climb to the divide overlooking Shoup Bay. This section may be very muddy and difficult to follow at times due the overgrowth. Spectacular views of Shoup Bay can be obtained from the divide. The trail continues along the east side of the bay until the inner bay is reached. From this point there are good views of the kittiwake rookery.

hiking trail map

Photo from Valdez Parks & Recreation. View full trail guide

Trail Details

  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Estimated Time: 10 hours round trip
  • Distance: 12.6 miles round trip (approximately 20.28 km)
  • Elevation Gain: 1100 feet (approximately 335 meters)

How To Get There

This section of the trail begins at the Gold Creek Bridge. From the bridge take the right hand fork for 3.2 miles until the divide is reached. The track is quite steep in places and, depending upon the weather, very muddy.

The trail may be difficult to follow due to the extensive growth of vegetation. Descending from the divide via a series of switchbacks, the trail runs along the east side of Shoup Bay. A section of stairs is reached at 1.6 miles from the divide. The trail continues to descend, and, with the help of a series of cairns, crosses Uno Creek. The trail continues to the inner bay.

The distance from the stairs to the inner bay is 1.4 miles.


"The uplands consist mostly of new growth forest of alder and spruce. A succession of plant life can be viewed on land leading away from the glacier. Most of the surrounding mountain walls are very steep, providing habitat for mountain goats and black bear. Highlights of this marine park include Shoup Glacier, and the black-legged kittiwake rookery in the lagoon. Bald eagles, arctic terns, and many species of waterfowl can be seen here. Please do not disturb the rookery or nesting areas of the birds."
-Alaska Department of Natural Resources

"If you make the trip to Shoup Bay, you may see harbor seals, sea otters, harbor and Dall’s porpoises, sea lions and peregrine falcons. The bay’s “kittiwake rock” with a population of 20,000 breeding birds is a noisy spectacle. In June and July, paddlers may observe adults and chicks if they approach quietly."
-Alaska Department of Fish & Game

Black Legged Kittiwakes

Black-legged kittiwakes at Shoup Bay. Photo by Valdez Outfitters.

Shoup Bay Cabins

Hikers are able to reserve accommodations at the end trail may reserve one of the Shoup Bay State Marine Park Cabins which are maintained by the Valdez Adventure Alliance. The cabins are furnished with kerosene stoves, though visitors must bring their own kerosene. Bug spray, bear spray and waterproof layers are recommended. 

a remote cabin in the wilderness

Kittiwake Cabin at Shoup Bay. Photo by Valdez Adventure Alliance. 


Valdez Highlights