Valdez "Switzerland of Alaska"
You can reach Valdez by road, sea or air. Paved highways join Valdez and Fairbanks, 364 miles/586 km away, and Anchorage 305 miles/491 km distant. Alaska ferryliners connect Valdez directly with Whittier, Cordova. There are scheduled flights between Valdez and Anchorage which are only 120 air miles apart.
Things to do
Take a boat tour to see Columbia Glacier, second largest tidewater glacier in North America, Shoup Glacier and other Prince William Sound attractions.
Interpretive exhibits at the Valdez Historical Museum include the gold rush, the 1964 earthquake, the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. A restored 1907 Ahrens steam fire engine, models of antique aircraft, and the original Cape Hinchinbrook lighthouse lens are also on display. Remembering Old Valdez Exhibit has a wonderful 1:20 scale Historic Old Town Model showing Valdez as it appeared in 1963, just prior to the earthquake.
The Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum at Prince William Sound Community College is a huge private collection of animal mounts, Native dolls, an Eskimo kayak, prehistoric artifacts and carved ivory. Well worth a stop.
The Last Frontier Theatre Conference takes place at the Valdez Convention and Civic Center in June. Gold Rush Days, held in August, is an annual celebration that includes a parade, contests, game night and town fish fry.
Sea kayaking is an ideal way to explore Prince William Sound. Sea kayak rentals and outfitters located at the Small Boat Harbor. Guided trips range from an afternoon paddle around Port Valdez to glacier day tours and camping tours: check with us for more information. Take a flightseeing trip and see Columbia Glacier, spectacular Prince William Sound and the surrounding Chugach Mountains from the air.
Visit the Crooked Creek Salmon Spawning Viewing Area offering a close-up look at spawning pink and chum salmon mid-July to early September. Dayville Road is a 5.8-mile paved side road (with bike trail) that leads to shoreside camping, picnicking, fishing and scenic views along Port Valdez, the 13-mile-long estuary at the head of Valdez Arm.
See Waterfalls. From downtown Valdez, drive out the Richardson Highway 17.4 miles to the Keystone Canyon area and see Horsetail Falls. A short distance beyond Horsetail Falls is Bridal Veil Falls. Both are favorite photo stops.