Photo Credit: Kelly Leavitt

Prince William Sound Glacier Cruises

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Day Cruises

From Valdez View All

Valdez • Best Glaciers • 5 hrs from Anchorage by car
Season: May 15 to Sep 18 $140+ 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.

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From Whittier View All

<p>Whittier • Best Glaciers • 1.5 hrs from Anchorage by car, 2 hrs by train</p>
Season: May 1 - Oct 8 $183.95+ 5.5 Hrs

Phillips 26 Glac­i­er Cruise, out of Whit­ti­er, will take you to 26 dif­fer­ent glac­i­ers in just 5.5 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 Call for quote

Hire a pro­fes­sion­al dri­ver to take up to 4 pas­sen­gers (plus lug­gage) any­where with­in the Talkeetna/​Seward/​Soldotna/​Kenai cor­ri­dor — basi­cal­ly, any­where with­in a 2.5- to 3‑hour radius of Anchor­age. Use for day trips (they’ll wait while you do your tour), trans­fers to your cruise ship, a pri­vate dri­ver for your whole vaca­tion, and more.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 2 miles Elevation Gain: 700 feet

This leisure­ly, 0.75-mile trail begins just south of Whit­ti­er, a lit­tle sea­side town locat­ed some 2 hours south of Anchor­age. The trail doesn’t climb much, but it will take you high enough to get an unob­struct­ed view of numer­ous water­falls, includ­ing the long-drop­ping waters of Horse­tail Falls as it sheets over the sheer rock face of Black­stone Ridge. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 6 miles

This is a very steep, 6.4‑mile round-trip trail that’s most­ly unmarked and requires expe­ri­ence with scram­bling and climb­ing over rocks. Your reward for the effort, though, is some very dra­mat­ic views of Shot­gun Cove and the glac­i­ers in Black­stone Bay.

Season: Jun 05 to Sep 20
From $2,900
3 Days
Ports of Call: Anchorage, Whittier
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Discovery

Explore the nat­ur­al won­ders of north­west­ern Prince William Sound Alas­ka in this 3‑day ver­sion of our Clas­sic Dis­cov­ery Voy­age. This is the per­fect cruise for those who don’t have time to do the whole Inside Pas­sage or wish to com­bine their Alas­ka cruise with more shore-based activities. 

Season: April - Sept
$580+ Day-trip | $935+ Multi-day
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: M/V Caroline

Spend the after­noon, or a few days explor­ing the waters of Res­ur­rec­tion Bay and Prince William Sound aboard the M/V Car­o­line, a beau­ti­ful cus­tom-built yacht set for adven­ture! It’s the per­fect set­ting for a fam­i­ly or small group vaca­tion. Fill your days loung­ing on the fly­bridge, fish­ing, kayak­ing, strolling beach­es and cruis­ing to your next fan­tas­tic destination.

Season: May - September $70 - $170

The only same-day ser­vice between Seward and Denali Nation­al Park! Enjoy the ride aboard a deluxe motor­coach with com­fort­able seats, pic­ture win­dows, in-seat pow­er out­lets, and an onboard restroom. Offer­ing reg­u­lar sched­uled sum­mer ser­vice con­nect­ing Seward, Whit­ti­er, Anchor­age, Tal­keet­na, and Denali, plus spe­cial cruise con­nec­tions on ship days.

Whit­ti­er is not only gor­geous; it’s also full of fas­ci­nat­ing WWII and Cold War his­to­ry. And that past is easy to explore — the town pub­lish­es a map out­lin­ing an engag­ing walk­ing tour of the his­toric sites. (You’ll get a copy when you dri­ve through the Whit­ti­er Tun­nel; those arriv­ing by cruise ship can pick one up in any local business.)

Season: Jun 05 to Sep 20
From $4,500+
5 days/4 nights or 6 days/5 nights
Ports of Call: Anchorage, Whittier, Cordova, Valdez
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Discovery

Per­fect for the adven­tur­ous trav­el­er, the Hike and Kayak voy­age sees all the same sites as on our Clas­sic voy­age, but with more excur­sions. Kayak among ice­bergs, hike through moun­tain mead­ows, and take in the scenery on this unique trip. Activ­i­ties can be cus­tomized to suit the inter­ests and activ­i­ty lev­el of those on board.

Bik­ing, fish view­ing, a nat­ur­al his­to­ry cen­ter and a flat hike to a glac­i­er are with­in easy reach of this qui­et, inti­mate camp­ground in Portage Val­ley at the head of Tur­na­gain Arm in the Chugach Nation­al For­est. The 12 sites in the grav­eled, wood­ed Black Bear are yards from the Trail of Blue Ice — a non-motor­ized mul­ti-use trail that tra­vers­es the val­ley floor.

Quick: what’s the longest com­bined rail and high­way tun­nel in North Amer­i­ca? It’s the Ander­son Memo­r­i­al Tun­nel, and you’ll dri­ve through it on the scenic and his­toric dri­ve to Whit­ti­er. The Kenai Moun­tains-Tur­na­gain Arm Nation­al Her­itage Area is a place whose val­leys and moun­tains, com­mu­ni­ties and peo­ple tell the larg­er sto­ry of a wild place and a rugged fron­tier. This audio guide gives you the inside scoop on its fas­ci­nat­ing his­to­ry. You’ll…  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2 miles

This 2‑mile-long, fam­i­ly-friend­ly trail, which begins 90 min­utes south of Anchor­age at the far end of the Whit­ti­er Tun­nel, remains the only easy way to see Portage Glac­i­er on foot. And it’s has a spec­tac­u­lar con­clu­sion: After crest­ing Portage Pass, the trail drops through glacial scrub before pop­ping out on the wide grav­el shores of Portage Lake, direct­ly across from the snout of gor­geous Portage Glacier.

Season: May–September $340 4 - 4.5 hours

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.

Season: Jun 05 to Sep 20
From $4,850+
5 to 7 Days
Ports of Call: Anchorage, Whittier, Valdez
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Discovery

Our Clas­sic Dis­cov­ery Voy­age is the per­fect wilder­ness sam­pler. We take in the most spec­tac­tu­lar sights of Prince William Sound — moun­tains, fjords, glac­i­ers and wildlife — with the num­ber of dai­ly excur­sions (ashore or by kayak) tai­lored to the inter­ests and activ­i­ty lev­el of the group.

In 1943, The Army Corps of Engi­neers built a mon­u­ment com­mem­o­rat­ing the effort of build­ing the 2.5 mile long tun­nel through the sol­id rock of May­nard to real­ize the vision of Whit­ti­er as a year-round ice-free port. The mon­u­ment was recent­ly restored in a new loca­tion with the orig­i­nal plaque. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

Whittier’s newest trail is a gem — a gen­tle, ¾‑mile stroll that fol­lows Whit­ti­er Creek from the rail­road cross­ing up to the water­fall. Locals love it: It’s right in the mid­dle of town, but the lush green­ery makes you feel like you’re far from civilization.

Season: Year Round Call for Rates

The team at Alas­ka Auto Rental offers rental cars for the most unique itin­er­ary: over grav­el high­ways, through win­ter weath­er, on one-way legs, or start­ing out from unusu­al loca­tions. It’s local­ly-owned, with employ­ees who know Alaska’s roads and their chal­lenges. You’ll get help­ful trav­el advice, a can-do atti­tude, and reli­able wheels.

The Pio­neer Mon­u­ment com­mem­o­rates res­i­dents of Whit­ti­er who have passed away. Flags fly above the mon­u­ment and names are added peri­od­i­cal­ly, as long-time res­i­dents pass. 

The mon­u­ment, a plaque on a 13-ton rock, can be found in the town’s Tri­an­gle busi­ness dis­trict amidst a wild rose gar­den. It’s a trib­ute to those who It’s a fit­ting trib­ute to those who lost their lives dur­ing the 1964 earthquake. 

In Prince William Sound you’ll find some 150 glac­i­ers packed into an area just 70 miles wide. These are the few that you shouldn’t miss! 

Season: May - September
$5,690+ (Inside Passage starting at $1,650)
5 days / 4 nights
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: M/V Sea Star

Set sail for 5 days and 4 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

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $55+ 8 hrs - Full Day

Lazy Otter offers guid­ed kayak tours and trans­porta­tion to seclud­ed areas of Prince William Sound. 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. 

The famous sur­vey­or Menden­hall named this glac­i­er for a min­er who was car­ry­ing mail from Cook Inlet to Whit­ti­er in 1896, dis­ap­peared in a snow­storm, and was nev­er seen again. His broth­er Willard (who gives his name to the near­by island) searched for him but found only the mail pack­et atop the glac­i­er which now bears his name. 

The Glac­i­er Dis­cov­ery Train departs Anchor­age with stops in Whit­ti­er (Prince William Sound), Gird­wood, Portage, and Spencer Glacier

The 2000 pho­to­graph doc­u­ments the con­tin­u­ing advance of Har­vard Glac­i­er, which has com­plete­ly obscured the view of Rad­cliff Glac­i­er. Bal­ti­more Glac­i­er has con­tin­ued to retreat and thin. Alder has become estab­lished on the hill slopes, but is dif­fi­cult to see from the pho­to loca­tion. Har­vard Glac­i­er has advanced more than 1.25 kilo­me­ters (0.78 miles) since 1909. (USGS Pho­to­graph by Bruce F. Molnia). 

Season: Mid-April – Late September $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.

Season: May 14 to Sep 11 $71 to $148

The train can be used as a mode of trans­porta­tion, how­ev­er it can also be a round-trip sight­see­ing excur­sion. This pri­ma­ry des­ti­na­tion is the town of Whit­ti­er, a major cruise ship and after­noon day cruise hub. Day Trips from Anchor­age: Whit­ti­er, Gird­wood, Spencer Glac­i­er, Grandview

One of Whittier’s true gems is hid­den in plain sight. The Head of the Bay is lit­er­al­ly that: Where the shim­mer­ing waters of Prince William Sound meet the shores of this charm­ing town — and it’s a beau­ti­ful spot to vis­it. Come with a pic­nic and take it all in as you relax. You’ll also find a met­al fire ring, per­fect for a sum­mer evening bon­fire. Want to camp there? It’s more pop­u­lar with those dri­ving RVs or camper­vans than tent campers.

Season: Jun 05 to Sep 20
From $8550*
5 days / 4 nights
Ports of Call: Anchorage, Whittier, Prince William Sound, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Discovery

Explore a wildlife rich slice of Alas­ka, set in the scenic wilder­ness set­tings of Lake Clark Nation­al Park, and the Chugach Nation­al For­est Wilder­ness of Prince William Sound.

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

Season: May 15 to Sep 15
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 book longer 10-day/9‑night expeditions.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 6 miles

This is a 6.6‑mile round-trip trail with very lit­tle ele­va­tion gain, mak­ing it a great option for the whole fam­i­ly. Along the way, you’ll glimpse amaz­ing views of Prince William Sound. It takes about 90 min­utes to hike halfway, out to the cove. And it’s worth the trip: Here you’ll find a lagoon fed by the tide and full of huge starfish.

Bald eagles. Brown bears. Black bears. Hump­back whales. Orcas. Stel­lar sea lions. Har­bor seals. Sea otters. Moose. Wolves. 200,000 seabirds of over 220 dif­fer­ent species. You can find this impres­sive col­lec­tion of icon­ic Alaskan ani­mals right in Prince William Sound. Here’s where to go in each town for the best wildlife-view­ing opportunities!

With 60 sites on paved loops, Willi­waw is suit­able for large motorhomes and offers great access to the Trail of Blue Ice — a non-motor­ized mul­ti-use trail that tra­vers­es the val­ley floor. Also near­by bik­ing, salmon view­ing, hikes, and glac­i­er viewing.

Every town has their 4th of July tra­di­tions, and while small, Whittier’s is lots of fun. And, it’s the main com­mu­ni­ty event of the year. It also doesn’t take itself too seri­ous­ly! There’s a tiny parade through the down­town tri­an­gle” (blink and you might miss it!).

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.

Known as Alaska’s Play­ground, the Kenai Penin­su­la is one of the state’s most beau­ti­ful and acces­si­ble areas. A wealth of roads and trails offers the poten­tial for amaz­ing wildlife view­ing: birds, seabirds, whales, bears, moose, and cari­bou are all here. Of course, these crit­ters don’t just mag­i­cal­ly appear when you walk by. So we con­sult­ed long­time wildlife biol­o­gists to put togeth­er an audio guide to three dozen hot spots that offer the best…  ...more

Height: 50 ft.

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.

There’s no bet­ter deal on fresh fish and chips in Whit­ti­er. Choose from hal­ibut or rock­fish, light­ly bat­tered and served hot, fast, and in gen­er­ous por­tions. The fish is fresh from Prince William Sound, which is what you’ll be look­ing out on from their deck. They also have house-made clam and seafood chow­ders, local striped shrimp, and even burg­ers and chick­en strips. Eat on the cov­ered deck, with a view of the moun­tains and har­bor, or sit…  ...more

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.

The Sug­pi­aq are mar­itime peo­ple of south and south­west Alas­ka, adept at uti­liz­ing water-based resources and han­dling intense coastal weath­er. The name Sug­pi­aq comes from the word Suq,” mean­ing real peo­ple.” Alu­ti­iq, the Sug­pi­aq term for the Russ­ian name Aleut” has been adopt­ed by many con­tem­po­rary Native peo­ple of this diverse her­itage; both terms are com­mon­ly used today. The Sug­pi­aq who inhab­it the out­er coast­line of the Kenai Peninsula…  ...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.

Phone: 9074402847 Address: Lot 8 Small Boat Hbr, Whit­ti­er, AK Hours: Sun 8am — 5pm, Mon 8am — 8pm, Tue-Fri 8am — 5pm, Sat 8am — 8pm (Open May 15 — Sep 20)

This 500-foot cas­cade plunges into a cove sur­round­ed by immense cliffs along the north­west wall of the inner fiord for Black­stone Glac­i­er in Prince William Sound. One of the most pho­tographed in the region, this water­fall is eas­i­ly viewed dur­ing a day cruise from Whittier.

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