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Things to do in Southcentral - Valdez
East view of the Valdez Small Boat Harbor
city of valdez
East view of the Valdez Small Boat Harbor
Plan your trip in Valdez

Welcome to Valdez, one of Alaska's most ruggedly beautiful cities! Situated at the tip of Prince William Sound, the city of Valdez offers many opportunities for exploring the wilderness and viewing wildlife. Valdez is subject to a number of accolades: it is the farthest north ice free port, the terminus for the Alaska pipeline, and possesses the highest amount of snowfall among any city at sea level: 30 feet on average per year! Valdez bears an impressive history as a pit stop for gold and copper miners, enduring the severe damage caused by the 1964 Earthquake and the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. 



learn about local history, including artifacts, displays, and recreations at the valdez museum!
NPS/Aric Hudson
learn about local history, including artifacts, displays, and recreations at the valdez museum
Visitor Information
The Valdez Convention and Visitor's Bureau is a one-stop for all travel and visitation information in Valdez and the Prince William Sound area. They can help you find anything you need in town, and have a staff knowledgeable in the local trails, activities, and events. The staff is very dedicated to helping visitors plan their trip and can be reached at 907-835-2984. 

For more information, visit their extremely useful website! 

Valdez has a number of historic sites as well. One of the most popular options is the old Valdez town, which was destroyed during the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake. Valdez was one of the coastal communities greatly devastated from the Earthquake and following tsunamis. The epicenter of the 9.2 magnitude quake was only 45 miles west of Valdez. After this earthquake, the ground Valdez was originally built on was determined unsafe. The town was then moved to dense ground where it still stands today.

There are three museums within the town's limits with both state and local history, including artifacts, displays, and recreations! They make great half-day events and will make your whole experience in Valdez more comprehensive.

Many inland routes for hiking and kayaking pass by waterfalls in the Chugach Mountains
Many inland routes for hiking and kayaking pass by waterfalls in the Chugach Mountains

Spend the day: Hiking
Valdez has a number of short walks if you only have a few hours in town. The Dock Point loop is an easy, 20 minute to half an hour walk at the eastern end of the dock. This walk looks over Prince William Sound, where you can see ducks, eagles, and even a few otters. Check with the local visitor center for more information on other hikes. Valdez is surrounded by some of the most scenic trails in the state. The walks range anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day. You can view Prince William sound or some of the rivers that run into the sea. Consider Mineral Creek Trail, which runs up its namesake, Mineral Creek, or Shoup bay trail along Prince William Sound to Shoup Bay State Marine Park and Shoup Glacier. Less than half an hour outside of town there are some gorgeous waterfalls that you can view and even interact with on a warm day. Proper footwear is necessary, but these make for some beautiful excursions.

Spend the Day: On the Water
Many tour companies offer both half-day and extended tours. One of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of Prince William Sound is to get up close and personal on the water. For the adventuresome visitors, there are three hour long kayak treks available. Touring companies will give you a tour around the sound. This is an incredible animal viewing destination. Sea otters, shorebirds, and whales have been known to show up for lucky kayakers! But even if the animals seem to be hiding from you, the breathtaking landscape of jagged mountain ranges and memorable glaciers is enough to make your journey worthwhile. Whatever you see, you can always expect a good time out on the waves! There are also many inland routes to explore on rafts. These outings pass by waterfalls and canyons, all under the Chugach Mountains. This is the perfect way to travel through remote locations at a faster speed, making camping or short hikes in the area more possible.

For those who prefer more of a comfortable setting, excursion vessels, charters, sailboats, fishing boats, and rental boats dock in the Valdez harbor and offer the opportunity for sightseeing on a regular basis. If you are prone to sea-sickness, you can enjoy Valdez from a distance in a plane or helicopter.

The Chugach Mountains create many glaciers in the region nearby Valdez.
The Chugach Mountains create many glaciers in the region nearby Valdez.

You can also sign up for a glacier trek and view some of Valdez's glaciers up close! The best way to do this is to contact the visitor center or a local company that can set you up. The Chugach Mountains contain hundreds of glaciers. Some are more accessible than others, but there are a few glaciers nearby that you can hike or fly to. The most popular glaciers to visit in this area are: Columbia, Meares, Worthington, Valdez, and Shoup. No matter what your preference is, there is an option for you. You can stand at a distance and appreciate glacier calvings, kayak within glaciers, or hike along the moraines leading toward the glaciers.

For more information, contact the Chugach National Forest Ranger Station at 907-424-7661

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Alaska encompasses 586,412 sq. miles, making it approximately 1/5 the size of the rest of the United States or larger than the combined area of the 22 smallest U.S. states! 85 percent of Alaska lands, or an area twice the size of Texas, are under federal and state ownership.