Photo Credit: Anadyr Adventures

Best of Valdez

4 Days


Mid-May through mid-September



Why This Trip?

Valdez is a little off-the-beaten path. Even though it’s connected to the road system, it takes a little effort to get there, as it’s a 6-hour drive from Anchorage and 4.5 hours from Tok. But the drive is incredibly scenic, and along the way, you’ll see two glaciers. And when you arrive in Valdez, you’ll find that it’s not nearly as crowded as other waterfront towns a little closer to Anchorage.

There’s also lots to do. Set at the head of a fjord on Prince William Sound, Valdez offers day cruises to see glaciers and wildlife, kayaking, great fishing, wildlife viewing, and tons of hiking trails.

This itinerary assumes you’ll drive to and from Valdez. But you can also make a loop by connecting to Whittier via the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry. Click here for that itinerary.


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Day 1

Drive from Anchorage to Valdez

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Pick up your rental car in Anchorage and drive through gorgeous scenery on your way to the seaside town of Valdez—a trip that will take about 5.5 hours nonstop. Plan for 6 to 7 hours, though, as you'll find some beautiful distractions along the way. About 2 hours into the drive, pull off to marvel at the mammoth Matanuska Glacier, one of Alaska's few roadside glaciers. Closer to Valdez, you'll be treated to another one, Worthington Glacier, which you can take in from a viewing platform. (There’s a $5 parking fee.) As you get closer to Valdez, stop at the pullouts in Keystone Canyon to take in the views of Bridal Veil Falls. And make time for one last detour on your way into town—a stop at Valdez Glacier Lake, where you can marvel at icebergs that have calved from the glacier. If you want to get closer, book a kayaking tour and go paddle around them!

Day 2

Day and Overnight in Valdez

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This town is situated spectacularly on shimmering waters and surrounded by mountains, with wildlife and glaciers galore. So get out there! Take a day cruise out to see those glaciers and look for sea otters, puffins, whales, and bald eagles.

Another option to is see the glaciers by air, with options of a glacier landing!

Day 3

Day & Overnight in Valdez

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Depending on the time of year, there are fantastic wildlife-viewing opportunities in Valdez. Stop at the Solomon Gulch Hatchery (from mid-June through August) or the Crooked Creek Information Site (from mid-July through October) to see salmon returning to their spawning grounds, as well as the chance to spot bears fishing. At the hatchery, the fish also attract sea lions and seals looking to catch their fill!

Today is also a great opportunity to hike one of Valdez’s spectacular trails. Dock Point is a great choice for a short trek with spectacular views of the harbor. Goat Trail is a little more moderate and offers views of Bridal Veil Falls. For a full list, check out our Valdez Trails page.

Day 4

Travel back from Valdez to Anchorage

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Say your goodbyes to this beautiful waterfront town and begin your drive back to Anchorage or your next Alaska destination. Good destinations from Valdez include McCarthy/Kennicott, Copper Center, Chitina, or Fairbanks.