Big stories come out of our small town.
Experience the birthplace of big mountain heli-skiing in Thompson Pass
Visitors looking for a once-in-a-lifetime custom ski experience, should look no further than Valdez and nearby Thompson Pass in Southcentral Alaska. Well known as the premier winter sport destination, boasting 600-900 inches of annual snowfall in the surrounding area, heli-ski enthusiasts have access to some of the freshest powder in the world. Thompson Pass, located 20 miles inland, is the original hub for big mountain skiing and the birthplace of the first World Extreme Skiing Championships. A handful of tour operators give skiers the opportunity to go into the backcountry and access thousands of acres of untouched wilderness. Each company offers decades of combined experience and the opportunity to customize trips to the group’s needs. Cutting a fresh path down an untouched mountain is an unforgettable adventure; come experience it in Valdez.
Discover Alaska’s Adventure Corridor
For visitors flying into Alaska, rent a car with all-wheel drive and take off down the “Adventure Corridor” to Valdez from either Fairbanks or Anchorage. Hailed as one of America’s Most Scenic Roads, the Glenn and Richardson Highways wind through picturesque, winter scenery alongside Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, home to nine of the 16 tallest peaks in the United States. Make a quick stop in Glennallen before merging on the Richardson Highway for a memorable road trip experience. While meandering through Thompson Pass, watch for beautiful vantage points such as the Worthington Glacier, one of Alaska’s most accessible glaciers. Visitor parking and paved walking paths make this glacier easy to experience. Continue down the road through the Keystone Canyon. Watch for pullouts where you can observe breathtaking views of Horsetail and Bridal Veil Falls. The maritime town of Valdez is at the end of the Richardson Highway, where abundant year-round adventures await.
Marine Adventures Abound in Prince William Sound
Prince William Sound offers endless opportunities to view Alaska’s marine wildlife, and Valdez is the perfect place to embark. Climb aboard a glacier and wildlife cruise where visitors can spot an abundance of wildlife. Seals, Dall porpoises, sea lions, puffins, sea otters, humpback whales, and orcas are commonly seen here. Hop on a fishing charter for an unforgettable angling experience. Fish for halibut, cod, rockfish, salmon, to name a few. Looking for an up-close experience? Paddle out on a kayak and glide past icebergs, come face-to-face with towering glaciers and marvel at the abundant marine life. Valdez is the gateway to the Prince William Sound and all of the spectacular wildlife it has to offer.
History Happens Here
Valdez sprung up during the Gold Rush of 1898 as the base-camp for the "All American Route" to the goldfields of Interior Alaska. In 1964, Valdez was near the epicenter of the Good Friday Earthquake, the largest quake in American history. After the quake's devastation, the entire town of Valdez had to relocate to a new townsite a few miles away. The 1970s would bring the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline terminal to Valdez, resulting in the wild, oil-money infused, 1980s. These years were followed by tragedy of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Those Dang Rabbits!
Where did they come from? Nobody seems to know for sure. Interview three different locals about the rabbits, and you'll likely hear three different origin stories for the feral bunny rabbits that roam town freely. Public opinion in Valdez on the rabbits is sharply divided. Are the rabbits cute, furry companions, or an invasive pest that needs to be eradicated? Ask around, and you're guaranteed to get an earful.