Things To Do in Valdez
There are a plethora of year-round things to do in Valdez, Alaska. Well known as one of the prettiest places in Alaska, Valdez is home to outstanding hiking trails, world-class fishing, unbeatable backcountry skiing, recreational cycling, kayaking, snowmobiling, Northern Lights viewing, flightseeing, and glacier cruises in stunning Prince William Sound. All seasons provide different conditions for a variety of activities, so enjoy a visit to Valdez during any month.
Guides & Tours
Tourism is well-established in Valdez with long-standing guiding outfits to trust for your adventure. Glacier Cruises are among the most popular, with the added bonus of spotting wildlife in Prince William Sound. For a more up-close look at a glacier, venture out with a small group kayaking tour to Shoup Glacier, Columbia Glacier, or Valdez Glacier.
Helicopter tours offer an exciting journey for landing high on a glacier or seeing waterfalls, sparkling blue glacial pools, and wildlife from a bird’s-eye view. For something different, take an ATV tour out to discover the Chugach Mountains, Thompson Pass, or Mineral Creek Valley. Additionally, hire a guide to get into the backcountry for heli-hiking, ice climbing, packrafting, or multi-day backpacking trips.
Summer in Valdez gives us an opportunity to experience our landscape in warmer weather. Free of snow and ice, the soaring mountains and placid lakes offer endless hiking, kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle-boarding, rock climbing, and more things to do in Valdez.
Fishing is another favorite pastime, from our famous fish derbys to reeling in a giant deepwater halibut. Anglers choose from shore fishing to boat rentals to hiring a charter into deeper seas for all species of salmon, rockfish, and lingcod. Fishing is a way of life here in Alaska, and Valdez is second-to-none.
Valdez is an epicenter of winter adventure sports and activities in Alaska. The surrounding Chugach Mountains receive over 600 inches (15.2 meters) of fresh powder each year and numerous glaciers protrude from high-elevation ice fields. Skiers and snowboarders come from around the world to enjoy the finest helicopter and snowcat skiing. Backcountry, telemark, and cross-country skiing provide even more options. If you visit Valdez during the winter, don’t forget to stay up late and chase the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, viewable between September and April each year.
Snowmobiling around Valdez is also a world-class experience with endless peaks, valleys, and glaciers to explore. Various trails located in and around Valdez are perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country adventures. Cold temperatures freeze waterfalls around Valdez, providing unparalleled ice climbing opportunities. Fat-biking has also become popular in recent years with enthusiastic local cyclists packing down miles of scenic trails.
History, Arts & Culture
Although the area around Valdez was never permanently inhabited before the town was founded by white settlers, Alaska Native people of this region used Valdez as a favorite place to hunt, fish, gather, and trade. Valdez is the ancestral land of the Suacit. The name is an Alutiiq/Sugpiat word understood to mean, “people of the place that rises into view. The Ahtna, Alutiiq, and Eyak all lived in the greater “neighborhood” surrounding Valdez. The Valdez Museum has dedicated a significant portion of its space to the interpretation of the history and culture of the Natives of Prince William Sound and the Copper River Basin.
In addition to the main building of the Valdez Museum, there is also the Old Valdez Exhibit located in a separate building on Hazelet Ave. The Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum contains one of the largest collections of Native Alaskan art and artifacts in the world. It is located on the campus of Prince William Sound College on Lowe Street and admission is by donation.
Valdez is also home to a delicious and diverse array of dining and drinking options. Eat a nice dinner after a day spent enjoying some of the many things to do in Valdez.