In Valdez, the Richardson Highway turns into Egan Dr. As if driving into Valdez on the Richardson Highway, proceed along Egan Dr. Egan Dr crosses Mineral Creek (which might look more like a small river to some). Keep going straight after crossing the bridge and the road ends. The trailhead is on the left side of the road with a small outhouse in the parking lot.
Shoup Bay Trail begins outside of Valdez on the other side of Mineral Creek and follows Port Valdez 3.11 miles to Gold Creek before continuing another 3.5 miles to Shoup Bay. If you're hiking the trail as early as April there can still be snow and the trail. May through October the trail should be 100% clear.
The trail begins, well cleared and wide through alders and cottonwood for the first half-mile, before coming out to the flats. This portion of the trail can be particularly muddy if it has been raining. There is a section about 15ft long once you come to the flats that can be ankle deep with no way around but through. As you make your way around the flats it can continue to be wet and ankle deep in sections. However if it has been dry for a few days this portion of the trail is great.
In 2016 Shoup Bay Trail received much needed attention. Including brushing of the side and widening of the trail. However since regular maintenance isn't kept, once you leave the flat the trail becomes lined with stinging nettle. Not the entirety of the remaining trail, but thick enough you better wear pants or convertible pants, and don't be surprised if you hand brushes some on the hike if you let your guard down.
Quickly the trail narrows as it follows the slope which gets steeper and steeper. The the slope gets steep, but the grade of the trail maintains an easy climb. Mountain goats may sometimes be found high above the trail along the rock faces. In May it is possible to watch humpback whales breaching in Port Valdez.
The trail in this section passes across many waterfalls. They are easily crossed without getting wet. Sometimes hikers will pack little water assuming to refill at these falls but it is possible for them to run dry if it has been hot and dry for successive days. So always a good idea to bring a full water bottle on this hike, especially if it's been hot.
Once Shoup Bay Trail reaches Gold Creek the trail comes down near the beach and has trails to the beach. There are a couple camping spots along Gold Creek, and bear proof food lockers. The camping spots can become flooded if it has been heavily raining for a few days.
Most hikers will end their hike here and return to Valdez to make for an adequate day hike, while many hikers continuing to Shoup Bay plan on it being a multi-day hike or having someone pick them up in a boat.
Shoup Bay Trail was an old trail put in to Camp Bowie and the Cliff Mine, both are now abandoned. The trail was supposedly state maintained but little was done so it was a narrow trail. In 2015-2016 local outdoors group Levitation 49 became official care takers of the trail and sporadically host trail improvement sessions on Shoup Bay Trail.