Kayaking in Alaska's Prince William Sound
Photo Credit: ATIA, Michael DeYoung

Exploring Prince William Sound by Water

Exploring Prince William Sound by Water

Prince William Sound is home to so many glaciers, they aren’t all named. If glaciers are on your bucket list, this five-day itinerary through Whittier, Cordova, and Valdez will take you to some of the best in Southcentral Alaska, and also provide great opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Day 1: Whittier

Start your adventure by taking an Alaska Railroad train south from Anchorage to Whittier, a sea-side hamlet rich with history and charm where almost the entire community lives in one building. Whittier is the Gateway to Prince William Sound where adventure awaits! Once you arrive in Whittier, transfer to a sightseeing cruise to view more than two dozen glaciers in western Prince William Sound. When the tour concludes, enjoy locally caught fish and chips and other seafood at a local restaurant before you tuck in for the night at Whittier's hotel or a B&B.

Day 2: Whittier

Get up early and start your day with a hike on the Portage Pass trail. After just a mile of hiking (with just a bit of steep ascent), you’ll crest the pass and be rewarded with views of Portage Glacier. You can hike another mile and a half to the shores of Portage Lake, or head back to town. In the afternoon, you’ll board an Alaska Marine Highway ferry for the seven-hour sailing to Cordova (advance reservations recommended). Along the way, you’ll be treated to 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 fresh-caught Alaska salmon, halibut, lingcod, or other wild seafood. After a full day of sportfishing, your catch can be flash-frozen and shipped home for you. Turn in for another night in Cordova.

Day 4: Valdez

Board the ferry bright and early for the 14-hour journey to Valdez. Keep your binoculars and camera handy, because you’ll be treated to more of Alaska’s coastal beauty and wildlife sightings. Once you arrive, it’ll be time to drop your bags at the hotel and enjoy a dinner in one of Valdez’s excellent restaurants, then turn in for the night.

Day 5: Valdez

Today you’ll take another day cruise or a kayaking trip, this time through the eastern half of Prince William Sound for views of either the Columbia or Meares Glaciers, along with plenty of wildlife viewing along the way. Enjoy another meal of fresh, locally caught wild seafood and get a good night’s rest.

Day 6: Valdez

Spend the morning touring Valdez’s three small but impressive museums, including an annex that has scale dioramas of Old Town Valdez before and after it was all but obliterated by the Good Friday Earthquake of 1964. In the afternoon you can catch a regional flight to Anchorage or take a six-hour ferry trip to Whittier, and from there catch the train back to Anchorage.


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