Photo Credit: Beth Fuller

Prince William Sound & Copper Basin Day Tours & Attractions

Glacier Cruises View All

Season: May 11 to Sep 17 $135+ 6 or 8.5 hrs

This fam­i­ly-run com­pa­ny oper­at­ing out of Valdez will show you the best glac­i­ers, with great cus­tomer ser­vice along the way. On any giv­en day trip you’ll like­ly see huge rafts of sea otters, horned and tuft­ed puffins, cor­morants, hump­back whales, or even bald eagles. Stan Stephens offers two dai­ly tours, one of which fea­tures Colum­bia Glac­i­er, the largest tide­wa­ter glac­i­er in South­cen­tral Alaska.

Season: May 01 to Oct 04 $129+ 3.75 hrs - 5 hrs

Phillips 26 Glac­i­er Cruise, out of Whit­ti­er, will take you to 26 dif­fer­ent glac­i­ers in just 5 hours. Enjoy cozy com­forts on the high-speed cata­ma­ran and wan­der its out­door decks as you come with­in 300 feet of mas­sive tide­wa­ter glac­i­ers. In addi­tion to glac­i­ers, the cap­tain will be on the look­out for wildlife like otters, whales, har­bor seals, and marine birds. The trip takes place in the after­noon, and a hot lunch is includ­ed in your tour.   ...more

Season: Year Round $175+ 3.5 to 9 hrs

Lazy Otter offers clas­sic tours, but this is a water taxi, so they’ll also take you any­where you want to go with­in Price William Sound — or just cus­tomize a tour to what­ev­er you want to see. Maybe that’s glac­i­ers, or whales, — or maybe it’s qui­et time on a seclud­ed beach. Lazy Otter can also help facil­i­tate tak­ing you and your fam­i­ly on a camp­ing trip. You’re not held to any strict sched­ule, either: if, on a day tour, you can spend more time in one  ...more

[{"slug":"valdez","title":"Valdez"},{"slug":"anchorage","title":"Anchorage"},{"slug":"whittier","title":"Whittier"}]

Jet Ski Tours View All

$340 4.5 hrs

Faster than a kayak and more inti­mate than a day cruise, the Jet Ski is a great way to get up close and per­son­al with Alaska’s gor­geous scenery. Go with Whit­ti­er-based Glac­i­er Jet Ski Adven­tures and you’ll be tak­ing your machine out on the water to explore the stun­ning glac­i­ers and wildlife of Black­stone Bay. All equip­ment is pro­vid­ed and no expe­ri­ence is nec­es­sary on this unique 4.5‑hour journey.

$340+ per driver 4 hours

Tour­ing the spec­tac­u­lar tide­wa­ter glac­i­ers of Prince William Sound is even more excit­ing when you do it on a Jet Ski. Go with Alas­ka Wild Guides out of Whit­ti­er to expe­ri­ence the area’s unique sights and sounds while skim­ming across the top of the water on your own per­son­al watercraft.

[{"slug":"valdez","title":"Valdez"},{"slug":"anchorage","title":"Anchorage"},{"slug":"whittier","title":"Whittier"}]

Sea Kayaking Tours View All

Season: May 15 to Sep 20 $74+ day tours, $452+ multi-day trips 3 hrs - 7 days

Through­out the decades, Anadyr has care­ful­ly tai­lored its trips to offer an option for just about any­one. Nev­er kayaked before? Try the Valdez Glac­i­er Tour for a relax­ing pad­dle on a lake with an easy hike to the glac­i­er. You’ll explore ice­bergs and even kayak into a glacial cave. Got a six year old that can’t wait to get out there? At 3 – 4 hours, the Duck Flats tour offers a mix of wildlife (sea lions and otters are com­mon) and Valdez history.  ...more

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $50+ 8 hrs - Full Day

Lazy Otter offers offers dou­ble and sin­gle kayak rentals, and trans­porta­tion to seclud­ed areas of Prince William Sound. Not ready to kayak alone? Opt for a guid­ed trip. The calm waters have a gor­geous back­drop of the Chugach Moun­tains’ ser­rat­ed peaks. Keep an eye out for the crea­tures that walk the shores and swim in the sea: orcas, hump­back whales, sea lions, puffins, seals, sea otters, eagles, goats, and bears. 

[{"slug":"valdez","title":"Valdez"},{"slug":"anchorage","title":"Anchorage"},{"slug":"whittier","title":"Whittier"}]

Sailing & Private Yacht Charters View All

Call for Quote
Custom
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: The Sea Mist

Design your exclu­sive itin­er­ary then set sail into the vast open waters and wildlife-rich shore­lines of Prince William Sound aboard your own spa­cious and pri­vate yacht. Up to six pas­sen­gers can sit back, relax, and expe­ri­ence an inti­mate tour. Most guests enjoy the 5‑day/​4‑night trips, but you can also opt for 3‑day/​2‑night out­ings or even 10-day/9‑night expeditions.

$4,995+ 4-7 nights

Immerse your­self in a mul­ti-day Alaskan adven­ture that promis­es incred­i­ble views and jaw-drop­ping bear view­ing in Kat­mai Nation­al Park, along with a warm cama­raderie that only a small group expe­di­tion can cre­ate. Explore from your home base on the Island C, a research ves­sel that gets you close to the action while pro­vid­ing com­fort­able lodg­ing and deli­cious meals.

$6,075+ (Inside Passage starting at $1320)
7 days / 6 nights
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: M/V Sea Star

Set sail for 7 days and 6 nights with the crew of the M/V Sea Star for small ship adven­ture cruis­ing in Prince William Sound, Kenai Penin­su­la or along the Inside Pas­sage. The well-appoint­ed yacht accom­mo­dates just 12 guests, allow­ing for a per­son­al­ized expe­ri­ence where you are the explor­er! Unplug from day-to-day life and soak up the won­ders of Alaska’s amaz­ing coast­line. All meals pre­pared by an on-board chef and fea­tur­ing fresh local  ...more

[{"slug":"valdez","title":"Valdez"},{"slug":"anchorage","title":"Anchorage"},{"slug":"whittier","title":"Whittier"},{"slug":"kodiak","title":"Kodiak"}]

Fairs & Festivals View All

It’s only fit­ting that an Alas­ka fish­ing vil­lage throws a great salmon fes­ti­val. Every year in July, the town of Cor­do­va takes a break from fish­ing to turn out for the Cop­per Riv­er Salmon Jam. This fes­ti­val aims to cel­e­brate salmon and pro­mote the health and sus­tain­abil­i­ty of local salmon runs.

Con­sid­ered one of Alaska’s top bird­ing events, this annu­al fes­ti­val dur­ing ear­ly May cel­e­brates the arrival of more than 5 mil­lion migra­to­ry birds on the Cop­per Riv­er Delta east of Cordova.

[{"slug":"valdez","title":"Valdez"},{"slug":"anchorage","title":"Anchorage"},{"slug":"whittier","title":"Whittier"},{"slug":"kodiak","title":"Kodiak"},{"slug":"cordova","title":"Cordova Area"}]

Visitor Information Centers View All

The Crooked Creek Infor­ma­tion Cen­ter and salmon view­ing plat­form are locat­ed on the out­skirts of Valdez at Mile 0.5 of the Richard­son High­way. Pink and chum salmon return to this clear water stream each sum­mer to spawn with peak num­bers seen in mid-August. Occa­sion­al­ly, black or brown bear can be observed feast­ing on the return­ing fish.

Why go The For­est Service’s Begich, Bog­gs Vis­i­tor Cen­ter is locat­ed in Portage Val­ley, one of Alaska’s most vis­it­ed recre­ation areas. The val­ley is a show­case of glacial activ­i­ty with a num­ber of hang­ing” glac­i­ers grac­ing the encir­cling moun­tains. The vis­i­tor cen­ter is locat­ed on the north­west­ern shore of Portage Lake, and was built on the ter­mi­nal moraine left behind by Portage Glac­i­er almost a cen­tu­ry ago. The Trail of Blue Ice, Byron…  ...more

The Alas­ka Avalanche Infor­ma­tion Cen­ter works to increase pub­lic aware­ness and safe­ty through avalanche edu­ca­tion, and the net­work­ing of avalanche pro­fes­sion­als. It is entire­ly run by vol­un­teers who are pas­sion­ate about the outdoors.

[{"slug":"valdez","title":"Valdez"},{"slug":"anchorage","title":"Anchorage"},{"slug":"whittier","title":"Whittier"},{"slug":"kodiak","title":"Kodiak"},{"slug":"cordova","title":"Cordova Area"},{"slug":"prince-william-sound-copper-basin","title":"Prince William Sound \u0026amp; Copper Basin"}]

Historic Parks & Sites View All

This rail­road tun­nel was hand-cut start­ing in 1905. Nine com­pa­nies were bat­tling to take advan­tage of the short route from the coast to cop­per coun­try. Progress on the tun­nel was inter­rupt­ed and after a gun bat­tle, con­struc­tion halt­ed and the tun­nel was nev­er fin­ished. You can read about the tun­nel and these events in Rex Beach’s nov­el, The Iron Trail.

The area of Whit­ti­er has long served as pas­sage between Prince William Sound and Tur­na­gain Arm. The Alas­ka Engi­neer­ing Expe­di­tion envi­sioned a rail line out to this large­ly unset­tled area back in 1914, but it was the U.S. Army that made Whit­ti­er where and what it is.

Believe it or not, but this area used to be cov­ered by tall trees!

About 75 Miles South­east of Anchorage

Glac­i­ers are formed when more snow accu­mu­lates than melts through the sea­sons. The weight of the snow cre­ates pres­sure that turns snowflakes into dense, rivers of ice that shape the land.

Whit­ti­er was built as a deep­wa­ter port and rail­road ter­mi­nus to trans­port fuel and sup­plies dur­ing World War II. Come inside the Anchor Inn where a small but fas­ci­nat­ing muse­um gives a glimpse of Whit­tier’s inter­est­ing history.

This was the orig­i­nal port and city of Valdez. The city was moved to its cur­rent loca­tion 4 miles down the road after it was dev­as­tat­ed by the 1964 Good Fri­day Earthquake.

[{"slug":"valdez","title":"Valdez"},{"slug":"anchorage","title":"Anchorage"},{"slug":"whittier","title":"Whittier"},{"slug":"kodiak","title":"Kodiak"},{"slug":"cordova","title":"Cordova Area"},{"slug":"prince-william-sound-copper-basin","title":"Prince William Sound \u0026amp; Copper Basin"},{"slug":"chugach-national-forest","title":"Chugach National Forest"}]

Museums & Cultural Centers View All

This cozy, well-regard­ed muse­um in the heart of down­town Cor­do­va will bring you up to speed on the community’s nat­ur­al his­to­ry, Native and pio­neer her­itage, and a tumul­tuous mod­ern era that includ­ed the Great Alas­ka Earth­quake of 1964 and the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound.

With exhibits, lore and its own orca whale skele­ton, this muse­um on the Cor­do­va water­front cel­e­brates the cul­ture, art, his­to­ry and eco­log­i­cal wis­dom of the region’s rich Native heritage.

The muse­um por­trays the com­mu­ni­ty’s unique and col­or­ful his­to­ry from Euro­pean explo­ration in the 1700s to con­tem­po­rary oil trans­porta­tion. Per­ma­nent exhibits are accent­ed by tem­po­rary exhi­bi­tions of arts and crafts. Major arti­facts include a 19th cen­tu­ry Fres­nel Light­house Lens, a beau­ti­ful­ly restored 1907 Ahrens Con­ti­nen­tal” steam fire engine and a com­pan­ion 1880s Glea­son & Bai­ley hand-pumped fire engine, salt­wa­ter aquar­i­ums with the…  ...more

The Max­ine and Jesse Whit­ney Muse­um has one of the world’s largest col­lec­tions of Native Alaskan art and arti­facts. Dis­plays include Tro­phy Class Taxi­dermy mounts, Native Alaskan dolls, bead­work, bas­kets, masks, archae­o­log­i­cal arti­facts, and a large col­lec­tion of ivory carv­ings and tools. Hours Sum­mer: Dai­ly 9am-7pm Win­ter: Mon-Fri 9am-12pm, 1pm-5pm, exclud­ing col­lege hol­i­days. Admis­sion Adults: $5, Seniors over 60 and mil­i­tary: $4, Children…  ...more

Whit­ti­er was built as a deep­wa­ter port and rail­road ter­mi­nus to trans­port fuel and sup­plies dur­ing World War II. Come inside the Anchor Inn where a small but fas­ci­nat­ing muse­um gives a glimpse of Whit­tier’s inter­est­ing history.

[{"slug":"valdez","title":"Valdez"},{"slug":"anchorage","title":"Anchorage"},{"slug":"whittier","title":"Whittier"},{"slug":"kodiak","title":"Kodiak"},{"slug":"cordova","title":"Cordova Area"},{"slug":"prince-william-sound-copper-basin","title":"Prince William Sound \u0026amp; Copper Basin"},{"slug":"chugach-national-forest","title":"Chugach National Forest"}]

Points of Interest View All

How and where to find Alaska’s glac­i­ers — some of the state’s most beau­ti­ful nat­ur­al attractions

Explore the Wild World of the Cop­per Riv­er Delta. In this Audio Guide, you’ll get to learn about car­niver­ous plants, mush­rooms that hunt their prey, and find out why Cor­do­va is one of the best places in the world to see migrat­ing shorebirds.

In 1899, the Har­ri­man Glac­i­er extend­ed all the way to here, leav­ing only a tight pas­sage through which the ship could fit. Har­ri­man made the gut­sy deci­sion to sail through it, allow­ing them to be the first explor­ers and prob­a­bly the first humans to see this mag­nif­i­cent fjord. The glacial moraine still extends from the shore out to this point and you can see it just 6 feet below the sur­face at low tide.

Bull kelp has made amaz­ing adap­ta­tions to sur­vive in the harsh Gulf of Alas­ka envi­ron­ment. It is one of the fastest grow­ing plants in the world, and can grow to 100 feet in length. It is found around deep­er water shore­lines and often washed up on beach­es after storms. The area close to Orca Can­nery is an excel­lent place to tide pool and look for sea­weeds, includ­ing bull kelp.

Sand­hill Cranes migrate through the Cop­per Riv­er Delta with a brief stop-over and rest at Hart­ney Bay in the spring and fall. Any­where along the paved road at Hart­ney Bay from the bridge to the end of the paved road is a great place to see these mag­nif­i­cent birds.

The area of Whit­ti­er has long served as pas­sage between Prince William Sound and Tur­na­gain Arm. The Alas­ka Engi­neer­ing Expe­di­tion envi­sioned a rail line out to this large­ly unset­tled area back in 1914, but it was the U.S. Army that made Whit­ti­er where and what it is.

Many species of birds migrate each year, but do we real­ly know why? Do they migrate because of food scarci­ty or for breed­ing pur­pos­es? Learn about some of the pos­si­bil­i­ties. Hart­ney Bay in ear­ly May is dom­i­nat­ed by large flocks of var­i­ous shore birds as they head north to breed in Alaska.

Cor­do­va is known in to the locals as Alaska’s hid­den trea­sure. It’s a small, hard-work­ing fish­ing com­mu­ni­ty with a pop­u­la­tion of about 2,270. Locat­ed near the mount of the Cop­per Riv­er, it nes­tles peace­ful­ly at the head of Orca Inlet in Prince William sound and has a mys­tique all its own. In the area are glac­i­er-carved moun­tains, wildlife-rich wet­lands, lush forests, and count­less water­ways that host many excit­ing activ­i­ties such as skiing,…  ...more

It’s free to go this far by car, and you’ll get a pic­ture-per­fect shot of Portage Glacier.

This point sep­a­rates Col­lege Fjord and Bar­ry Arm. You can see dead spruce trees which stand as silent tes­ti­mo­ny to the destruc­tion of the 1964 earth­quake. The land sunk more than 6 feet expos­ing the roots to salt­wa­ter and drown­ing the trees.

Learn about a unique inver­te­brate organ­ism that lives in all oceans of the world includ­ing areas around Cor­do­va and the Cop­per Riv­er Delta, the Tuni­cate! An excel­lent place to look for tuni­cates, or sea squirts” as they are com­mon­ly known, is on the edge of the docks just below water­line. The docks in the Cor­do­va boat har­bor have many species of these some­times col­or­ful but tiny organisms.

Har­bor seals and sea otters are com­mon sights in the Whit­ti­er Small Boat Har­bor. You might also see salmon enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly leap­ing from the water, a sight that cues locals to run for their fish­ing poles. King salmon run from May through ear­ly-July. From late-July through ear­ly-Sep­tem­ber, a run of sil­ver salmon brings anglers from through­out South­cen­tral Alaska.

Dri­ving from Anchor­age to Whit­ti­er to play in Prince William Sound? You’ll go through Anton Ander­son Memo­r­i­al Tun­nel — the longest (2.5 miles) high­way tun­nel in North Amer­i­ca, and the first designed for ‑40 Fahren­heit tem­per­a­tures and 150 mph winds! The one-lane tun­nel must be shared by cars and trains trav­el­ing in both direc­tions, and it usu­al­ly needs to be aired out in between trips (with jet tur­bine ven­ti­la­tion, anoth­er first!). This unique…  ...more

Tech­ni­cal­ly, Portage is no longer a road­side glac­i­er, as it recedes an aver­age of one foot a day and is now no longer vis­i­ble from the road, but its big blue ice­bergs are often found along the shore of the lake, right in front of the park­ing area. On Byron, ice worms are com­mon, if you get down and look. There are also beau­ti­ful ice caves and rivulets to see, but be care­ful not to walk too far onto the ice of this tempt­ing glac­i­er. You can see…  ...more

Coghill Point is the ter­mi­nus of the Coghill Riv­er, a world-famous red salmon fish­ery. Dur­ing the sock­eye salmon open­er (mid-July to ear­ly-August), hun­dreds of com­mer­cial gill net­ters scat­ter across the area pulling in the bounty.

If you’ve yet to set eyes on an ice­berg, here’s your chance. This lake sits at the ter­mi­nus of the Valdez Glac­i­er and is often home to chunks of ice that are mak­ing a go of it on their own. It’s a nice place to get unim­ped­ed views of the Chugach Moun­tains and the Valdez Glac­i­er. And with the warm­ing cli­mate, it’s a place worth see­ing before the glac­i­er retracts far­ther than it already has​.In fact, the ice on this glac­i­er has been more or less…  ...more

Trees that are stressed due to weath­er, dis­ease or insects are more like­ly to pro­duce large growths called burls, or galls. Some artists will take these burls and make beau­ti­ful dec­o­ra­tive bowls out of them. If you want to see some great exam­ples of burls, hike along the Heney Ridge Trail. Approx­i­mate­ly 2 miles from the trail head and a few hun­dred yards after cross­ing the large log bridge, you will find an area where sev­er­al spruce trees on…  ...more

Built dur­ing WWII as a top-secret mil­i­tary project, today Whit­ti­er is a great jump­ing-off place to explore Prince William Sound. To con­nect Whit­ti­er with the rest of the Alas­ka Rail­road, dur­ing the war the mil­i­tary con­struct­ed a mas­sive tun­nel. Today the expand­ed tun­nel is the longest com­bined rail and high­way tun­nel in North America.

[{"slug":"valdez","title":"Valdez"},{"slug":"anchorage","title":"Anchorage"},{"slug":"whittier","title":"Whittier"},{"slug":"kodiak","title":"Kodiak"},{"slug":"cordova","title":"Cordova Area"},{"slug":"prince-william-sound-copper-basin","title":"Prince William Sound \u0026amp; Copper Basin"},{"slug":"chugach-national-forest","title":"Chugach National Forest"}]