Valdez

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Quick Facts

Valdez Guided Rock Climbing Tour

Climbing tours offering perspective and adventure

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Details

Getting There
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.

About
On E end of Port Valdez, 45 mi. NW of Cordova and 115 mi. E of Anchorage Chugach Mts.
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 are based out of Valdez.

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.

Rock Climbing

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.

Kayaking/Canoeing/Rafting

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.

History
Town established in 1898 as a debarkation point, with an excellent ice-harbor, for men seeking a route to the Klondik gold region. It was originally called "Copper City" but name was changed when the Valdez post office was established in 1899. Valdez soon became the supply center of its own gold mining region. The town is located on the distributary delta of Valdez Glacier, and was severly damaged during the 1964 Good Friday earthquake (plans are being made to move the town to more stable ground three miles northwest.) The population was 315 in 1900; 810 in 1910; 466 in 1920; 442 in 1930; 529 in 1939; and 554 in 1950.
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.

Exxon Valdez

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.

Post Y2K

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.

Topos

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Places Near Valdez

Bays: Anderson Bay, Chamberlain Bay, Jack Bay, Jackson Cove, Jackson Hole, Port Valdez, Sawmill Bay, Valdez Arm,

Capes: Jackson Point,

Channels: Valdez Narrows,

Glaciers: Annin Glacier, Bench Glacier, Camicia Glacier, Cleave Creek Glacier, Hogback Glacier, Keystone Glacier, Meares Glacier, Mineral Creek Glacier, Valdez Glacier, Westbrook Glacier, Worthington Glacier,

Islands: Entrance Island, Glacier Island, Naked Island,

Lakes: Robe Lake,

Locales: 19 Mile Wall, Valdez Glacier Campground Wall, Deep Crudbusters, Diamond, DOT Face, Gun Barrels, Iguana Backs, Lizard Head, Nick's Happy Valley, Promise Land, School Bus, Snatch, Stairway, Vertigo,

Mountains: Prospectors Peak, Abercrombie Mountain, Aspero Peak, Blackcliff Mountain, Mount Brookfield, Camp Mountain, Mount Cardozo, Mount Cashman, Columbia Peak, Mount Defiant, Mount Diamond, East Peak, Mount Einstein, Mount Elusive, Mount Evans, Mount Fafnir, Flandreau Mountain, Flat Top Peak, Mount Francis, Mount Glenn, Mount Haley, Mount Kate, Mount Langmuir, Lindita Peak, Mount Logan, Madean Peak, Mount Mahlo, Meteorite Mountain, Mount Michelson, Mount Hogan, Mount Ourand, Mount Powder Top, Mount Schrader, Sharp Peak, Mount Shasta, Mount Shouplina, Sugarloaf Mountain, Tazcol Peak, Tazlina Tower, Townsend Peak, Mount Valhalla,

Mountain Passes: Marshall Pass, Thompson Pass,

Peaks: Hershey's Kiss, Loveland Peak, Sapphire, Tones Temple,

Ridges: Hippy Ridge,

Rivers: Little Tonsina River, Lowe River, Robe River,

Routes: Dragon's Teeth, High School Hill, Hung Jury, Lazy Days, No Floss Necessary, Route number 1, Route number 2, Route number 3, Trim the Bush, Wet Finish, Wowie Zowie,

Streams: Allison Creek, Bear Creek, Bench Creek, Big Creek, Brevier Creek, Browns Creek, Camicia Creek, Clear Creek, Cleave Creek, Corbin Creek, East Fork Mineral Creek, Ernestine Creek, Fall Creek, Fault Creek, Fiftynine Mile Creek, Glacier Creek, Gold Creek, Horsetail Creek, McAllister Creek, Mill Creek, Mosquito Creek, Palmer Creek, Ptarmigan Creek, Salmon Creek, Sawmill Creek, Sheep Creek, Squaw Creek, Stellar Creek, Stuart Creek, Twin Falls Creek, Uno Creek, Valdez Glacier Stream, Wood Creek, Wortmanns Creek,

Valleys: Abercrombie Gulch, Keystone Canyon, Solomon Gulch, Sulphide Gulch,

Waterfalls: Bridal Veil Falls, Horsetail Falls, Rudleston Falls,

Gallery

Pictures of, from, or near Valdez.

Reviews

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Valdez is the best town in Alaska if you enjoy doing things outdoors. They have year-round ice climbing, outdoor trad and sport rock climbing May-Oct, some good hiking trails and tons of places to wander in the Alpine of Thompson Pass. Worthington Glacier and Valdez Glacier are always fun to explore, and Valdez Glacier has icebergs in its lake.

Zachary Sheldon
Zachary Sheldon February 28, 2018

Related Articles

Something for Everyone on the Valdez Pack Trail of 1899
Something for Everyone on the Valdez Pack Trail of 1899
Allison Sayer

The Valdez Trail of 1899 is a gem, but I only rarely see other people on it. It takes you through a series of different ecosystems from mossy forest to alpine tundra. The trail is generally kept in very good shape, with just one real muddy spot towards the southern end. It also has historic significance. It follows the pack trail the Army Corps of Engineers built between 1899 and 1901 between the ocean and the interior. There are four trailheads along the Richardson Highway: at 12 mile, 14 mile, 20 mile, and 26 mile, giving hikers a range of options. Technically, the southern end is the “Pack Trail of 1899” and the northern end is the “Wagon Road of 1898,” but it all feels like one trail to me.

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