Photo Credit: Valdez Parks & Trails

Valdez Parks & Hiking Trails

Whether you’re a hardcore hiker or a family looking for an easy stroll with great views, you can find it in Valdez—along with everything in between. This small city serves up a large number of well-maintained trails. Some hikes are close to town and feature beautiful waterfront views, while others further north off the Richardson Highway have a rainforest jungle feel, complete with cascading waterfalls. For information and recommendations from knowledgeable locals, stop by the Visitor Center.

Here are Top Trail Picks in Valdez

Easy: Dock Point Trail

For a quick, easy walk with amazing views, this is the trail locals will always recommend. Dock Point Trail is an 0.8-mile loop trail with just one steep section (hint: if you hike it clockwise you’ll walk that section downhill). One side of the loop looks over the Duck Flats, a rich estuary home to migratory birds. The other side overlooks the harbor’s shimmering waters and the snow-capped peaks beyond. It’s an easy walk from downtown, making for a great morning walk or a perfect stroll after dinner at one of the restaurants.

Moderate: Mineral Creek Trail

Head up the Richardson Highway to reach Mineral Creek Trail that’s popular with bikers, joggers, and hikers. You’ll walk on a nice wide gravel path, but the steady elevation gain makes this trail a bit strenuous. The first portion is open to ATVs, while the final section is for foot and bicycle traffic only; the trail ends at an abandoned Gold Rush-era stamp mill.

Challenging: Shoup Bay Trail - Section A

Shoup Bay Trail is broken out into two sections. Section A is a moderate 6.5-mile round-trip that will take 4 hours; you’ll cross flats, streams, and open meadow and get views of Port Valdez. Section B is not maintained and adds 12.6 strenuous, round-trip miles.

Best Views. Dock Point Trail; Goat Trail

If you’re short on time or energy, the Dock Point Trail hike mentioned above offers the best views with the least effort. If you’re feeling more ambitious, try Goat Trail. This 4.3-mile trail moderately difficult trail features stunning canyon views and the chance to check out Bridal Veil Falls.

Wildlife Viewing: Homestead Trail

This 1.2-mile trail follows Mineral Creek down to a salmon-viewing area. Along with the fish, you may see the bears that come to feast on them. On the way, expect to see lots of birds and summertime wildflowers, as well as some fantastic ocean views.

Remote Feel: Keystone Canyon Pack Trail, Goat Trail, Wagon Road

Want to feel like you’re miles away from civilization (even if you’re not?) The road-accessible trails just off the Richardson Highway north of Town, like the Keystone Canyon Pack Trail, Goat Trail, or Wagon Road are for you. They were all part of the famous Trail of ’98 that led prospectors from the port of Valdez to the interior during the Gold Rush.

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Parks & Trails

Difficulty: Easy

Bridal Veil Falls and the Valdez Goat Trail: This two-mile-long hike is a restored sec­tion of the Trans-Alas­ka Mil­i­tary Pack-train Trail that was the first glac­i­er-free route from Valdez to the inte­ri­or of Alas­ka. There’s a fan­tas­tic over­look about a mile down the trail.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

This easy loop trail — just 0.8 miles long with less than 500 feet in ele­va­tion gain — offers prob­a­bly the best bang for your buck in Valdez. It’s close to town yet feels immersed in nature, comes with awe­some views, and you can do it in just 30 – 45 min­utes at a leisure­ly pace.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 12 miles Elevation Gain: 800 feet

If you’re inter­est­ed in see­ing rem­nants of Alaska’s Gold Rush her­itage, you’ll find some fan­tas­tic ruins from that era along this 12.2‑mile trail that fol­lows an old grav­el road and takes about 6 hours. Don’t want to walk it all? Rent a bike in Valdez and ped­al your way.

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.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 7 miles Elevation Gain: 680 feet

This trail has a split per­son­al­i­ty: It’s bro­ken out into two dif­fer­ent sec­tions that will appeal to two dif­fer­ent kinds of hik­ers! Sec­tion A is the tame sib­ling — a 6.5‑mile mod­er­ate round-trip that takes about 4 hours. Sec­tion B is the wild child: A full 12.6 miles out and back, this stretch takes 10 hours or so to hike and is difficult.

Difficulty: Easy

There are only a few places where you can spend time along the Lowe Riv­er with­out the sound of cars and motor homes — this unmarked turnoff is one of them. From here you can explore a lit­tle bit upstream and find a nice place to relax next to the riv­er. And the only peo­ple you may see are local rafters, as this is used as a pick­up spot after float­ing through Key­stone Canyon.Just one warn­ing: don’t fall into the water! Alaskan water temperatures…  ...more

Pad­dle around a qui­et lagoon with the impres­sive Shoup Glac­i­er at one end and ice­bergs that have calved from the glac­i­er, mar­vel at the live­ly black-legged Kit­ti­wake Rook­ery, and take in the feel­ing of being some­where remote — even if you’re only 5 miles from town.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

About four miles in, there is a fish hatch­ery on this trail. The trail was cre­at­ed to pro­vide a close look at the hatch­ery’s dam, lake, and aque­ducts. It also offers a good view of the Port of Valdez. It can be a step hike at times.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 5 miles

Hike uphill until you reach about 3100ft where you will find a good place to cross the stream. At 3500ft you will need to cross yet anoth­er stream. Walk along­side the hill until you reach a laks. The trail opens for many options here, all with excel­lent views of glac­i­ers, ravines, and peaks. 

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