Prince William Sound & Copper Basin Points of Interest
Points of Interest
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.