Valdez Glacier

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Quick Facts
  • Location: 61 ° 17' 24" N, 146 ° 12' 28" W
  • Region: Valdez-Cordova (CA)
  • Nearest City: Valdez
  • Uses:
  • Length: 22 mi (35.41 km)
  • Elevation: 3189 ft (972.01 m)
  • Lakes: Valdez Glacier Lake,


Getting There
From downtown Valdez get on the Richardson Highway, turn left on to Airport Road stay on it to the end(even as it becomes Glacier Campground Rd). This will get you to the lake. The glacier has receded up between steep walls it carved out, and it resting behind the lake. To reach the glacier a boat is recommended. Though it is physically possible to reach the glacier clinging to dear life traversing through the brush.

heads 0.7 mi. S of Mount Cashman, trends SE to its terminus, 2 mi. SE of West Peak and 4 mi. NE of Valdez, Chugach Mts
Valdez Glacier is rapidly thinning and retreating. In the mean time it is still one of the highlights of Valdez. There is a large parking lot with a couple picnic tables at Valdez Glacier Lake. From here many people park and walk along the shore looking at the icebergs that may be floating in the middle of the lake or occasionally pressed up against the shore. The glacier itself has retreated around the bend and only a portion of its terminus is visible from the shore.

To best enjoy Valdez Glacier one must kayak or canoe out to the glacier. We offer private canoe tours and there are two companies in Valdez that offer large group kayaking tours.

Due to the high concentration of glacier silt in the water there are no fish. Also since we've been asked on tours, whales, otters, nor any other marine life travel up the stream to the lake. Other than insects and birds no wildlife lives in/on the lake.

In winter the lake freezes over and it's common for people to cross-country ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, or walk out to the glacier. Winter travel to the glacier will depend on wind and snow depth. One day there can be 3 feet of snow on the lake and a couple days of strong wind will have it down to bare ice.

Named in 1898 by Captain W. R. Abercrombie, USA.
Due to it's long gradual descent, Valdez Glacier was used as a trail for many looking to enter the interior of Alaska in search of gold back in the late 1800's.

During the twentieth century, Valdez Glacier thinned by more than 300 feet. The summer of 2017 the last mile of Valdez Glacier that floats in the lake had major shifting with extensive splitting and change to the glacier.

In spring of 2012 three scientist (Anthony Arendt, Gabriel Wolken, Alessio Gusmeroli) were able to snowmachine (snowmobile) up to the summit of the glacier since the 400+ inches of snow that fell that winter provided plenty of protection from the glaciers many crevasses.


Pictures of, from, or near Valdez Glacier.


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Valdez Glacier is an amazing experience both in the summer and winter seasons, the opportunity to canoe around the icebergs in summer leaves me in awe of the grandeur every visit. In the winter crossing the lake to explore and climb inside the glacier itself is an incredible adventure with the crystal clear blue and black ice that spans deep into the glacier. One of my most favorite places to visit.

Jenny Sheldon
Jenny Sheldon April 21, 2018
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Valdez Glacier is an amazing experience. One of the best parts is boating around the icebergs and getting up close to them.

Zachary Sheldon
Zachary Sheldon February 28, 2018

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