Valdez to Worthington Glacier

Where can you drive to see an amazing glacier, a museum with a saloon, and an old town site in a little over 30 minutes? The 32-mile trip from Valdez to Worthington Glacier is short, but worthwhile. The drive itself is beautiful, with this span of the Richardson Highway just alongside Lowe River.

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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

$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.

Oper­at­ed by the U.S. For­est Ser­vice and open only in sum­mer­time, it’s staffed by guides who can help you under­stand the area. There’s also a stream that runs thick with pink and chum salmon when they return each sum­mer to spawn. Thanks to a foot­bridge over the stream and the clear Alaskan water, it’s easy to see the fish. (The best view­ing is from mid-July through Octo­ber.) You may also see black bears, who come to feast on the fish.

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.

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

This pic­turesque fall is fed by snow and ice melt and emp­ties into the Lowe Riv­er after flow­ing under the road. There is a road­side pull­out next to the water­fall that pro­vides easy view­ing of the falls. 

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.