Valdez, Alaska, is found at the head of Port Valdez, a natural fjord, that is the home of both commercial and sport fishing, freight ships, and also the end of the famous Trans-Alaska Pipeline!
Already visit McCarthy? If so, continue traveling south on the Richardson Highway where you'll head up and through Thompson Pass, where the views make you realize why Valdez is called 'Alaska's Little Switzerland'. Continue down through the pass and you'll encounter the Keystone Canyon riddled with incredible waterfalls. You'll definitely want to pull over and take some photos...trust me.
Though the drive to Valdez is worth the price of admission alone, like in many parts of Alaska, exploring the nearby glaciers and amazing hiking trails are sure to eat up a day leaving you with a full memory card in your camera, sore arms and legs, and a smile on your face.
Kayaking tours are available where you can literally paddle around massive floating icebergs in Prince William Sound, glacier and wildlife cruises and sport fishing are among the other opportunities available to you. One unique thing about Valdez regarding sport fishing is that you have the opportunity for Salmon Shark fishing as well! Hook into a cousin of the Great White shark and you're bound to have an adventure!
Much like Homer, Valdez also offers fishing derbies that run from May all the way through September! Try your hand at catching either a $15,000 halibut or even a $15,000 silver salmon, depending on the month you visit! Daily and runner-up prizes make it a no-brainer to have a derby ticket in your pocket. Who knows, you might pay for your entire trip when you reel in the big one!
While in Valdez there is the opportunity to take advantage of the services of Alaska Guide Co.. Zachary Sheldon is a year round resident of Valdez and a professional photographer. He and his team offer private guided tours in the Valdez area. Owned and opperated by local residents they specialize in glacier exploration, rock & ice climbing, and alpine adventures. Each tour is tailored to their clients abilities and goals, no pressure, all fun. Contact Alaska Guide Co.
Hiking in and around Wrangell St. Elias National Park can be a moderate stroll up to Solomon Lake or you can up the ante by hiking 5 hours (one way) all the way to Shoup glacier for an overnight stay in one of the cabins within the state park! Plan on doing this? Be sure to book your reservations well in advance.
We didn't even scratch the surface of what Valdez has to offer, so if you visit, plan on wetting a line and certainly take the time to enjoy the surrounding area on foot or on the water. You'll be glad you did!