The Land of Waterfalls - Valdez, Alaska
By: Courtney Dowd-Stanley
Discovering the beautiful town of Valdez is like experiencing a dream come true. Located at the head of a fjord on the eastern side of Prince William Sound, Valdez is in the midst of the Chugach Mountains and picturesque coast. Roughly 4,000 lucky Alaska residents call this world-renowned adventure destination home. On top of that, this former Gold Rush town has rich history and cultural charm, along with an unlimited amount of recreational activities. One of Valdez’s greatest claims to fame is its close proximity to Thompson Pass, know as the “snowiest place in Alaska” due to its average of approximately 45 feet of snow a year. Flickr - Mr Hicks46
Snowy winters in Valdez lead to lush spring and summer days, and the melting water from the heavy snowfall rushes down the area’s numerous rivers, streams, and waterfalls. One of the most spectacular natural attractions near Valdez is Keystone Canyon—a place with dramatic waterfalls, brilliant geology, and captivating history. Flickr - Abhijit Kamerkar
You’ll drive through Keystone Canyon when heading into Valdez on the Richardson Highway. It is located between miles 14 and 17. Flickr - Rick Fogerty (aka Cowboy Rick)
The grand beauty of this 3-mile-long canyon is impossible to ignore. Flickr - FairbanksMike
When you observe Horsetail Falls and Bridal Veil Falls cascading over the towering walls of Keystone Canyon, you’ll quickly understand why Valdez is known as the “land of waterfalls.” Flickr - J. Stephen Conn
En route to Valdez, visitors can enjoy the almighty waterfalls via pull-outs available right off of the Richardson Highway inside of the canyon. Flickr - Jimmy Emerson, DVM
Tie up your hiking boots and embark on the 1.8-mile-long Keystone Canyon Pack Trail, which will lead you to a bird’s eye view overlooking Bridal Veil Falls and Keystone Canyon. Flickr - J. Stephen Conn
Located at mile 18.9 of the Richardson Highway is the Old Railroad Tunnel, which was hand cut and dates back to 1905. It is what remains of feuding railway companies that tried to connect Valdez with the copper mines at Kennecott. Flickr - James Brooks
If you’re a thrill seeker looking for a little something more, then try a kayak or raft trip on the Lowe River which runs through Keystone Canyon in the direction of Valdez. Flickr - Jimmy Emerson, DVM
Ice climbing frozen waterfalls in Keystone Canyon is a popular winter-time activity for those willing to bundle up for a little chilly outdoor Alaskan fun. Flickr - Tim Berger
But wait—it doesn’t stop there! After you’ve passed through the glorious canyon and made your way into Valdez, the waterfall adventures continue. Lots of easily accessible trails are available right in town. Fishing is another very popular activity in Valdez, and is another great way to take in the scenery.Flickr - Kim Olson
Visitors can also hop on a wildlife cruise to enjoy a leisurely day of exploring the majestic mountains, towering waterfalls, and glistening glaciers inside Prince William Sound. Flickr - Dave Bezaire
Looking for more where that came from? To learn about another incredible small town check out Girdwood, Alaska - Named Among World's Top 10 Greatest Mountain Towns. Also, Explore The Magnificent Scenery Inside Alaska's First State Park - Kachemak Bay. This Alaska Road Trip Will Lead You Through The Most Treasured Tiny Towns.
If you are living and loving The Alaska Life – share your adventures with us on our Facebook page HERE, and they might just end up getting featured in one of our next blog posts.
Written by Courtney Dowd-Stanley
WI was fortunate to truck groceries from Anchorage too Valdez..simply breathtaking!
Valdez is absolutely beautiful! I can’t wait to go back on our next Alaskan vacation!
Went to Blueberry Lake the first time 5 years ago…first thing I saw was a young Bald Eagle dive fishing into the lake. Absolutely amazing to watch.
We lived in Alaska for almost 20 years, we moved back to the lower 48 due to our daughter having Brain Cancer. We would never have left Alaska. We lived in Valdez and other then the tourists in the summer just taking over everything you could never find a nicer place on earth to live. The beauty and the peacefulness and the people are the best. We miss it so very much. We also lived in Fairbanks and Anchorage, they both have their wonderful points too but Valdez is Heaven on Earth.
It takes a different breed of person to live there year round. The tourist season was such a pain when I lived there. People parallel parking and buying up everything in the liquor store. I spent 13 years of my life there. I’d go back if I had the chance. Been all over the lower 48 since leaving and there isn’t anything that compares… Or even come close, to the beauty in that tiny town. It could use a taco bell though. 12 hours of driving for a chalupa was a bit of a commitment.
Lived in Valdez from 1960-1963. Great place. Loved it but, transferred back to Glennallen for the rest of my time in the ACS.
It is indeed beautiful. I have been there many times. Unfortunately, if You tell the world about it over and over it will become a place filled with fools, traffic jams, polluters. The problems of everyplace else pour in when every jackass in the world shows up in these beautiful wonders of nature.
My son and family moved to Glennallen in June 2017. I went with them and during the month I was there, I drove down to Valdez one day. A beautiful drive! I was in awe when I drove through Keystone Canyon. I enjoyed my day in Valdez and picked up some delicious fish.
There are no storage tanks of any kind any where near Blueberry Lake. Totally beautiful and a great place to camp. I have lived here in Valdez for 26 years and live maybe 18 miles from Blueberry Lake, three miles from Keystone Canyon.
Blueberry Lake is definitely not storage tanks.
Been to Valdez a a few times back in 2005 when we were doing a job in Fairbanks Alaska. Loved the drive to Valdez all the beautiful water falls are just gorgeous. We went Salmon fishing while we were there.
That Keystone Canyon can’t be ignored is pretty funny; it’s the only way you can drive down, hahah. Be careful in the Bridal/Horsetail Falls area; lots of traffic pulling in and out on a blind corner, so be ready for it, and the pedestrians.
I lived in Valdez the summer of 1964—right after the Good Friday earthquake. I have so many memories. Went to Bridal Veil and Horsetail falls often. We also drove up to the summit and Bluberry Lake. Valdez is in a different location and I understand Blueberry Lake is now oil storage tanks, but the pictures in my mind of the summer I turned 16 will always be precious.
I wish these photos were small enough to print.. they are gorgeous!!
My granddaughter, husband and two children just moved to Valdez two weeks ago and are busy getting settled and enjoying exploring the town. Can’t wait to visit them ASAP. The scenery is beautiful, people very friendly.
My daughter and son-in-law live in Valdez.. it’s absolutely amazing! Thompson pass is by far one of the most majestic passes I’ve seen. I’ll actually be up there in two weeks… can’t wait!
This has got to be one of the most beautiful breathtaking places on the planet…saw it in person last June and can’t wait to go back!
My sister and her family live in Glennallen and i have been twice and the first time i went I had to put my feet in the lowe river and I absolutely love that country and Thompson pass is beautiful as well as the falls are breathtaking. From MS.