There are direct flights to Valdez twice a day, weather permitting. Ravn Alaska is the only scheduled air service to Valdez.
Valdez is also part of the Alaska Marine Highway (ferry system), and can be accessed from Whittier.
However most people come to Valdez from driving down the Richardson Highway.
Valdez is a small remote town with one road in and out, most times the road is clear, however it can become heavily fogged in on Thompson Pass. It is still somewhat of a hidden gem for outdoor activities. Valdez offers a bit of everything and a lot of certain things, all while offering amazing landscape and scenery.
Much of Valdez current tourism is heli-skiing, and fishing. There are small cruise operations that offer tours out to the tidal glaciers like Columbia Glacier and Meares Glacier. Our friends at Alaska Photography offer land-based Valdez tours.
As for accommodations, there are a few options in the off season (mid Sept-May) and much more in summer. There are several RV parks, hotels, motels, as well as a few places for camping. The town only has one grocery store, a Safeway, and one chain food store, a Subway. There are a few restraunts open year round and many open in summer.
Ice Climbing: Valdez has many places for ice climbing including; Keystone Canyon, Bridal Veil Falls, Greensteps, Simple Twist of Fate, POS, Hung Jury, Horsetail Falls, Mud Slide, Plastic Jesus, Valdez Glacier, Worthington Glacier, Foolagain, and many more locations.
Hiking Trails: Valdez has a lot of areas where one can bush whack to make their way to new places. But there are also many hiking trails. Popular ones include Shoup Bay Trail, Dock Point Trail, Goat and Wagon Road Trail, High School Hill Trail, John Hunter Memorial Trail (Solomon Gulch), Keystone Canyon Pack Trail, Mineral Creek Trail.
Valdez has over 100 climbing routes though, we don't have them all in our database yet. Popular ones include campground wall located near the campground by the airport and Blueberry Lake on Thompson Pass, as well as routes on the rock along Worthington Glacier.
Port Valdez offers great kayaking from town to Shoup Bay, and the Shoup Glacier and some of the guiding outfits offer longer tours out in Prince William Sound. Another popular kayaking/canoeing destination is the icebergs and Valdez Glacier.
Rafting, packrafting, white water kayaking, include Valdez Glacier Stream and the obvious choice Lowe River, especially as it flows through Keystone Canyon.
Valdez was established in 1898 as a debarkation point, with an excellent ice-free harbor, for men seeking a route to the Klondike gold region. It was originally called "Copper City" but the name was changed once the Valdez post office was established in 1899. Likely named after Port Valdez named on June 16, 1790, by Don Salvador Fidalgo, after a Spanish naval officer, Antonio Valdes. Valdez soon became the supply center of its own gold mining region. The town was located on distributary delta of Valdez Glacier, and was severely damaged during the 1964 Good Friday earthquake.
The part of Valdez is now referred to as Old Valdez. There is not much left of Old Valdez other than a few foundations and dock pilings out in the beach.
Present day Valdez was built on land donated by descendants of George Cheever Hazelet and Jack Meals. Two men who arrived in Valdez on March 8, 1898, later to for the Port Valdez Investment Co, and homesteaded 654 acres in 1901. Of this original 654 acres, 140 were donated to become present day Valdez. Three of the two men's sons actively participated in the recovery effort, representing almost 100 descendants.
Valdez is also known for the TAPS/Alyeska terminal which is the end of the line for the Alaska Pipeline which sends oil from the top of Alaska, near the arctic ocean, down to Valdez. In 1985 the ship the Exxon Valdez, spilt oil in Prince William Sound soon after leaving Valdez. No remnants of the spill remain.
In the January 2014 the road was completely cutoff just before entering Keystone Canyon when a major avalanche traveled down Snowslide Gulch covering the Lowe River and Richardson Highway.
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