Photo by Jody Overstreet
September in Valdez, Alaska
September in Valdez brings runs of silver salmon, gorgeous fall colors and the start of aurora season. If you're planning to visit Valdez this September, here are some ideas to include on your itinerary.
Glacier and Wildlife Viewing
Glacier and wildlife tours are still available in early September, though most of the local cruise or kayak tours will close for the season by the middle of the month. However, smaller boat charters are still available for tours to tidewater glaciers and wildlife viewing areas around Port Valdez. Helicopter tours are available throughout September as well for those interested in flying over or even landing on a glacier.
Of course there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to discover glaciers and wildlife on their own around Valdez this time of year. Stop off at Worthington Glacier in Thompson Pass during the drive to Valdez, or take Airport Road out to see the icebergs in Valdez Glacier Lake. The Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery on Dayville Road is open for free, outdoor, self-guided tours through October, and makes for a great viewing point to see returning salmon, birds, marine mammals, and bears.
Late Season Fishing
September is surprisingly one of the best times of year for fishing in Valdez, as it is the peak season for silver salmon fishing around Port Valdez. Anglers can fish for silvers from shore at Allison Point on Dayville Road or at a number of beach access points around town. Most local fishing charters will still operate through September for silver salmon as well as rockfish and winter king salmon. Travelers visiting in early September will still have a chance to participate in the Valdez Fish Derbies, which usually wrap-up around Labor Day.
Hiking and Biking Trails
September is possibly the best month for hiking in Valdez. Check out the fall colors on the Homestead Trail and watch as the last of the salmon return to Mineral Creek. More adventurous folks can follow sections of the Thompson Pass Pack Trail to look for patches of low-bush cranberries or crowberries. Another great option is to walk or bike the Bike Path from town out to the Crooked Creek Forest Service Cabin to view returning salmon or migratory birds on the Duck Flats. Local rentals are available for bicycles as well as e-bikes.
History, Arts & Culture
Valdez's cultural attractions make for a nice walking tour around town in the beautiful September weather. The Valdez Museum and Historical Archive on Egan Drive is open year-round, and most years features a new exhibit in September. Over on Kobuk Avenue, the Valdez Art Co-Op is open most days until 6 PM, featuring galleries of art from local artists. The Whispering Giant wood carving off of Pioneer Drive makes for a great photo opportunity.
If you're interested in exploring outdoors, check out Old Valdez. The original Valdez townsite, known locally as "Old Town" is only a few miles out of town alongside the Richardson Highway. Walk through the original town streets and see the foundations where Valdez stood before the town was relocated following the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake.