The Terminus of the Alaska Pipeline
The colorful town of Valdez, made infamous by Exxon Valdez disaster, offers much more than just an oil terminal. Unlike hundreds of miles of coastlines nearby, Valdez itself and the broad bay to its front were untouched by the spill. Situated in a majestic fjord, where the 5,000-foot tall Chugach Mountains rise from Prince William Sound, Valdez is often called Alaska’s “Little Switzerland,” making it an ideal spot for both summer and winter activities. Valdez is a fishing paradise for anglers, salmon and halibut are within anyone’s reach. Cruise the pristine waters of the Sound amongst massive tidewater glaciers. The abundant marine and bird life are a given. Mountains, glaciers, towering waterfalls, historic Gold Rush trails, Native culture and history are a few things to choose from. And with over 900 inches of fresh powder each year, Valdez provides an incredibly beautiful escape for skiers, snowboarders and snowmachiners.
The seawaters near town abound with sea otters, Dall porpoise, harbor seals, Stellar sea lions, & Humpback and Orca whales. Coastal mountain cliffs are home to mountain goats, and the surrounding landscape boasts black and brown bears in addition to many other smaller animal species. Valdez takes flight with area bird viewing opportunities. Bald eagles are abundant and scores of ducks and shorebirds can be identified through most of summer and fall. Please be sure to observe wildlife and their dens, rookeries, and nests with respect.
The growth and settlement of Valdez was attributed to fur trading, salmon canning, and gold and copper mining. During the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98, prospectors came to Valdez believing the Copper River and valdez Glacier to be the entry to the interior gold fields. From 1910 to 1916, copper and gold mining flourished in the area. In the early 1970’s, Valdez became the staging area for work on the lower portion of the Trans Alaska Pipeline. Today, Valdez hosts the Valdez Marine Terminal, which is the southernmost end of the 800-mile pipeline.
Depart the Valdez waterfront and immediately enter the lush wilderness of the Chugach mountains with an experienced Alaska bush pilot. Whether you want to land on a mountain lake, fly over fjords, view glaciers and wildlife or just enjoy the phenomenal and breathtaking beauty of the last frontier. Scheduled services are also available to Prince William Sound.
See the City of Valdez website page.
Valdez is located on the north shore of Port Valdez, a deep-water fjord in Prince William Sound. It lies 305 road miles east of Anchorage, and 364 road miles south of Fairbanks. It is the southern terminus of the Richardson Highway and the trans-Alaska pipeline.
It’s a 6 to 7 hour drive by vehicle via the Richardson Highway, Alaska Marine Highway ferry from Cordova, Whittier and Seward.
It’s a 40-minute flight from Anchorage.
7 hotel/motels; 30 bed and breakfasts. 14 restaurants/cafes/snackbars.