Prince William Sound Points of Interest

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Points of Interest

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. 

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

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 3 miles

This 1.5‑mile hike is an easy stroll down to the lake that offers a great pay­off in the form of a gor­geous glac­i­er. If you’re here in win­ter, bring your ice skates for some wilder­ness ice skating!

One of the most vis­it­ed nat­ur­al attrac­tions along the Richard­son High­way, this four-mile-long glac­i­er descends almost to pave­ment and is easy to approach on foot. The state recre­ation site fea­tures park­ing, pit toi­lets, and a cov­ered pavil­ion with a mod­el of the glac­i­er and inter­pre­tive signs, all close to small lake.

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! 

If you’ve yet to set eyes on an ice­berg, this is your chance: Gor­geous Valdez Glac­i­er Lake is often home to large chunks of float­ing ice that have calved off from the Valdez Glac­i­er. Appre­ci­ate the chunks of ice from shore, or join a guid­ed kayak expe­di­tion to pad­dle around the ice

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!

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Every year, mil­lions of shore­birds migrate from South Amer­i­ca to Alas­ka, where they stop to rest and feed on the Cop­per Riv­er Delta mud flats at Hart­ney Bay. This area also has poten­tial for great bear view­ing when the salmon are running.

Cor­do­va is the sea otter capi­tol of the world. They pup year-round, and there are many great places to see them!

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.

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.

Con­struc­tion of this ear­ly-1900s bridge cost a whop­ping (at the time) $1.4 mil­lion, which earned it the nick­name Mil­lion Dol­lar Bridge. But the bridge quick­ly earned its keep, allow­ing the rail­road to haul cop­per from Ken­ni­cott to the port of Cordova.

This very active glac­i­er forms a wall along the fabled Cop­per Riv­er near a his­toric rail­road route that once ser­viced the world’s largest cop­per mine. NOTE: A bridge at Mile 36 of the Cop­per Riv­er High­way is cur­rent­ly (2020) impass­able, with repairs not expect­ed for sev­er­al years. Child’s Glac­i­er is not cur­rent­ly acces­si­ble by road. Con­tact Cor­do­va Ranger Dis­trict for cur­rent venders pro­vid­ing trans­porta­tion options to the far side.  ...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.

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