Exploring Prince William Sound by Water

Whittier, Cordova, Valdez

Prince William Sound is home to so many glaciers that they aren't all named. So if glaciers are on your bucket list, this sample itinerary will take you to some of the best in the Great Land. Explore Southcentral Alaska with this 5-day sample trip to visit two famous glaciers, view marine wildlife and more.

Day 1 – Whittier
Start your adventure by taking the Alaska Railroad south from Anchorage on the short 60-mile trip to Whittier. Along the way, you’ll see parts of the Chugach National Forest (America’s second-largest national forest) that are inaccessible any other way. Upon arrival in Whittier, connect with your cruise vessel and prepare for a thrilling afternoon of day cruising western Prince William Sound. When the tour concludes, enjoy locally caught halibut fish and chips at a local restaurant and tuck in for the night at a B&B.

Day 2 – Whittier
Get up and start your day with a hike on Portage Pass trail, part of the Chugach National Forest. After about a mile and a climb of 700 feet, you’ll be rewarded with views of Portage Glacier. Continue on to the shores of Portage Lake or head back to town. In the afternoon, you’ll board an Alaska Marine Highway ferry vessel to Cordova. Along the way, you’ll be treated to more spectacular coastal scenery. Upon arrival in Cordova, check into a local hotel and explore downtown on foot.

Day 3 – Cordova
While it’s not a traditional day cruise, a fishing charter is another great way to enjoy the scenery, see some wildlife – and take home your own Alaska salmon, halibut or other wild seafood species. Cordova features several fishing-charter operators, and the local chamber of commerce can help you connect with a charter that’s right for you. After a day of sportfishing, your catch can be flash-frozen and shipped home for you.

exploring Prince William Sound by water

Day 4 – Valdez
You’ll board the ferry bright and early for the short journey to Valdez from Cordova. Upon arrival in Valdez, drop your bags at the hotel and prepare to explore this stunning coastal community on foot. The community boasts two small but impressive museums as well as the Remembering Old Valdez Exhibit, which tells the story of how the Good Friday Earthquake in 1964 impacted Valdez through impressive scale models of the former town site. Enjoy another meal of fresh, locally caught wild seafood and get a good night’s rest.

Day 5 – Valdez
Today you’ll take another day cruise, this time of the eastern half of Prince William Sound. Your cruise will feature a visit to either Columbia or Meares glacier along with plenty of wildlife viewing along the way. When you return in the early evening, you can fly back to Anchorage or choose to spend another night before closing the loop on this circumnavigation of Prince William Sound.