Valdez is a port town of about 4,000 people nestled at the base of the Chugach Mountains on the east side of Prince William Sound. Valdez is 300 road miles from Anchorage via the Richardson Highway and is also a port of call for the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system. Valdez is the end of the line for the Trans-Alaska pipeline which carries oil 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to the terminal in Valdez. From here it is loaded onto tanker ships for transport.
The natives of Alaska used the ice-free waters of Valdez to support their maritime hunting well before it was discovered by outsiders. The port of Valdez was named by a Spanish explorer in 1790. In 1898 a town was developed in response to the gold rush in Alaska’s interior. The current economy today is based around the oil terminal, sport and commercial fishing and tourism.
While in Valdez be sure to take a wildlife and glacier day cruise with Stan Stephens Cruises out to Columbia Glacier, the second largest tidewater glacier in North America.