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 small portion of its terminus is visible from the shore.
To best enjoy Valdez Glacier one must kayak or canoe out to the see the glacier. We offer private canoe tours to the glacier and there is one other company in Valdez that offers mixed group kayaking tours around the lake but not to glacier.
In summer of 2019 a German couple along with a man from Austria were out in an inflatable canoe in an area that showed signs of instability weeks earlier and imminent calving hours earlier. They were caught inside a small inlet inside the glacier as it calves. Ice broke off from the glacier rising up and tipping them out of the canoe. None of the party survived. Independent travel on the glacier is not recommended.
As of 2019 there is a large crevasse running across the glacier that it only passable by repelling in packrafting across and climbing out. The entire floating portion of the glacier is breaking apart and there are over 2 dozen large crevasses that formed in 2019.
About 5 miles back from the terminus on the east side of Valdez Glacier there is a valley with a retreated fork of glacier that drains into the valley. Since the fork had retreated the east edge of Valdez Glacier spills into the valley. Those broken chunks of ice, some the size of city buildings dam up the drainage creating a deep lake. When the lake reaches the height of the glacier the largest chunks of ice still damming the valley float upwards and the lake drains underneath Valdez Glacier.
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.
Prospectors Peak, Abercrombie Mountain, Mount Brookfield, Camp Mountain, East Peak, Mount Evans, Garrett Peak, Hogsback, Mount Logan, Mount Mahlo, Mount Ourand, Mount Schrader, Sharp Peak, Townsend Peak, Valdez Summit, West Peak,
Abercrombie Creek, Allison Creek, Brevier Creek, Cameron Creek, Camicia Creek, Corbin Creek, Crooked Creek, Dayville Creek, East Fork Mineral Creek, Glacier Creek, Goat Creek, Horsetail Creek, Mineral Creek, Slater Creek, Stephens Creek, Valdez Glacier Stream, Wood Creek,
Area 51 Access Trail, Dayville Power Line Trail, Dock Point Trail, Mount Francis Winter Trail, High School Hill, High School Hill to Summit Trail, High School Hill Water Tower Trail, Hogsback Trail, Homestead Trail, John Hunter Memorial Trail, Levee to Valdez Glacier Trail, Lost Toque Trail, Mineral Creek East Trail, Mineral Creek Stamp Mill Trail, Mineral Creek West Trail, Northern Robe Lake Trail, River Drive Trail, Robe River Hogsback Access Trail, Shoup Bay Trail, Solomon Gulch Valdez Overlook Spur, Southern Robe Lake Trail, Valdez Bike Path, Valdez Overlook Trail,