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14 Best Things to Do in Valdez, Alaska

Valdez, Alaska, is one of the most popular coastal cities in the 49th and largest state. There are countless activities here for any traveler or adventurer. Read on to get our tips on the 13 best things to do in Valdez.

About Valdez, Alaska

Valdez, Alaska, is a port city on Prince William Sound. The town is famous for housing the southern terminal of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline, constructed in the 1970s, along with the 800 miles of pipeline that run from Prudhoe Bay in Northern Alaska to Valdez. The terminal can hold nine million barrels of oil. 

Welcome to Valdez!

Valdez has a vast geological history as well. Glaciers, waterfalls, mountains, and wildlife surround the city by land and water. For the adventurer, the area is an outdoor wonderland!

Today, Valdez has just over 4,000 residents and welcomes visitors year-round. 

What Is the Best Time to Visit Valdez, Alaska?

We vote for July and August as the best time to visit Valdez, Alaska. The days are long, and the temperatures average between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. And if you like to fish, the salmon are running this time of year. 

The 14 Best Things to Do in Valdez, Alaska

Whether leisure sightseeing or adventure-seeking is your thing, there’s plenty to do in Valdez. We’ve compiled a list of 13 of our favorite things to do.

worthington glaicer valdez
Worthington Glacier

1. Check Out the Glaciers on a Day Cruise

About Taking a Glacier Cruise: You can see the glaciers up close on a 6 to 8.5-hour cruise from Valdez. The Stan Stephens cruises offer excursions to the Meares Glacier or Columbia Glacier. On the 8.5 hour cruise, you have a chance to see orca whales, sea lions, seals, and other wildlife.

Morton Road Trip Rating: 8/10

2. Spend Some Time Fishing

About Fishing In Valdez: Valdez, Alaska offers opportunities for fresh water and deep-sea fishing. Salmon, rockfish, lingcod, and halibut are among the fish species there. You can find deep-sea charters by clicking here.

Pro Tip: You’ll need an Alaska fishing license if you plan to do any fishing in Valdez. Read How To Get An Alaska Fishing License for more information.

Morton Road Trip Rating: 10/10

Alaska Salmon Fishing, Worthington Glacier & Kennicott Mine - Valdez & McCarthy | Go North Ep 14

3. Valdez, Alaska Sea Kayaking Tours

About Sea Kayaking Tours: Anadyr Adventures offer sea kayaking tours in Prince William Sound. There are day trips and two to eight-day camping trip options. The tours focus on seeing glaciers and wildlife. 

Morton Road Trip Rating: 9/10

4. See One of the World’s Largest Collections of Native Alaskan Artifacts

Address: 303 Lowe St, Valdez, AK 99686

About The Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum: You can find various Native Alaskan artifacts, Native Alaskan dolls, and trophy class taxidermy mounts at the Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum. You can learn about the history and culture of Alaska through the museum’s exhibits.

Morton Road Trip Rating: 7/10

5. Visit Valdez Glacier Lake

About Valdez Glacier Lake: Valdez Glacier Lake flows with the Valdez Glacier runoff. You can kayak on this 640-feet-deep lake in the summer or view it from the shore. In the winter, it freezes, and ice skating or snowshoeing can be possible at times. Take all safety and guide precautions while there. 

Morton Road Trip Rating: 8.5/10

Valdez Glacier Lake
Valdez Glacier Lake

6. Take a Whale Watching Tour

About Valdez Whale Watching Tours: The Meares Glacier Excursion with Stan Stephens cruises from Valdez goes to spots where you can see humpback or orcas. Lu-Lu Belle cruises also have a wildlife tour that goes to the Columbia Glacier.

You can typically view humpback whales from May to August, whereas you might have a chance of viewing an orca any time of the year in Valdez, Alaska. 

Morton Road Trip Rating: 9.5/10

7. Go to the Solomon Gulch Hatchery

Address: 1561 Dayville Rd, Valdez, AK 99686

About The Solomon Gulch Hatchery: This is a great place to visit and learn about salmon. Millions of salmon enter the Solomon Gulch Hatchery through a fish ladder in the fall and are released back to the sea in early spring. 

Morton Road Trip Rating: 7/10

Valdez, Alaska
Solomon Gulch Hatchery

8. Hike in Keystone Canyon

Address: Keystone Canyon from mile 14 to mile 17 on the Richardson Highway

About Keystone Canyon: Majestic waterfalls, inspiring views, and incredible rock walls are ways to describe Keystone Canyon. The Valdez Goat Trail is famous for hiking in the canyon. It’s a 4.3-mile hike with a view of Bridal Veil Falls and another waterfall at the end. Or you can try the Keystone Canyon Pack Trail, which gets you in view of Bridal Veil Falls and Horsetail Falls. It’s 2.6 miles one-way.

Morton Road Trip Rating: 9/10

9. See All of the Waterfalls in Valdez, Alaska

About Valdez Waterfalls: Valdez is a hot spot for waterfalls. When the snowfall melts in the spring and summer, the mountains start crying water down their sides. You can see these breathtaking waterfalls via vehicle, hiking trails, helicopter tours, river rafting, or kayaking. The city’s website lists the waterfalls in the area and how to see them.

Morton Road Trip Rating: 10/10

Valdez, Alaska
Waterfall in Keystone Canyon

10. Take a Helicopter Tour

About Valdez Helicopter Tours: A helicopter tour in Alaska can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many–if heights don’t bother you too much. Several flight operators in Valdez offer tours for a birds-eye view of glaciers, waterfalls, wildlife, and Prince William Sound. You can even book an excursion that lands you on a glacier!

Morton Road Trip Rating: 9/10

11. Try the Local Grub

About The Valdez Food Scene: Valdez, Alaska, has many restaurant choices for a city its size. BBQ, comfort food, ethnic food options, and of course, fresh seafood are options here. We think a must-have on your local grub exploration is fresh halibut. You can Google the best restaurants when visiting Valdez, but we highly recommend asking locals where to eat to find a unique experience. 

Morton Road Trip Rating: 8/10

12. View the Wildlife in Valdez, Alaska

About Valdez Wildlife: Various mammals, sea creatures, and birds call Valdez home. You could see wildlife anywhere in Valdez, but the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has put together a handy guide. You’ll learn in the guide that Shoup Bay State Marine Park, Duck Flats, Dayville Road, Thomas Pass, and Worthington Glacier State Park are the places to be for wildlife viewing.

Morton Road Trip Rating: 9.5/10

13. Go Backcountry Skiing

About Valdez Skiing: With an average of 26 feet of snow in the winter, Valdez is known as the “snow capital” of Alaska. This makes backcountry skiing and snowboarding a popular sport here and a haven for the pros. You can embark on excursions like guided backcountry skiing/boarding or a ski plane drop-off with no guide.

Morton Road Trip Rating: 8/10

14. Go on a custom Backcountry Adventure

During our visit to Valdez, we also had the opportunity to go on an amazing hike thanks to the Alaska Guide Company. These guys know how to craft excellent backcountry experiences for those looking to make their visit to the next level. From ice climbing to canoeing ice caves these guys know how to get you into the Alaska Wilderness.

Morton Road Trip Rating: 10/10

Should You Visit Valdez, Alaska?

Our answer is yes! Valdez has a lot to offer whether you’re driving through or plan to stay awhile. We highly recommend this port city in the middle of the Chugach Mountains.

Road tripping through Alaska is a unique experience, and Valdez is no different. We hope this mountain town will make the cut on your Alaska trip, and we hope you’ll let us know about your experiences!

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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