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is Valdez a

Amarillo, Texas
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12 posts
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is Valdez a

we're heading to Anchorage in August for 2 weeks with our son/DIL; this will be our 4th trip. We have done a lot of things on past trips (glacier cruise, wildlife cruise, halibut fishing in Homer, Denali, salmon fishing in Kenai); this time we have 3 or 4 days without a scheduled activity and wondered if a trip to Valdez on the ferry would be something we should not miss. What should we expect to do if we go to Valdez? We are in our mid 50's and are fairly fit, we regularly hike 3-4 mile trails and like the outdoors. And, what about the weather? We've heard that it rains quite a bit in August.

thanks in advance for any advice!

Edited: 4:51 pm, July 26, 2010
Amarillo, Texas
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1. Re: is Valdez a

my topic should have read "Is Valdez a don't-miss part of an Alaskan Trip?"

thanks again for any advice.

scoobagirl

Manitoba, Canada
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2. Re: is Valdez a

Well, I wouldn't say Valdez is a "don't miss". No place is IMHO. We all have places we like that other people didn't.

Valdez is probably the most picturesque Alaska town, at least that I've seen, surrounded by mountains and glaciers. It's also known as "Little Switzerland".

Have you ever been glacier kayaking? If not, there is a day trip to Columbia glacier that many kayakers enjoy. The water taxi there and back doubles as a wildlife/scenery cruise, and then you spend time kayaking amongst large icebergs. You don't get near the actual glacier, however, there are way too many icebergs in front of it.

I'm not that familiar with hikes near Valdez. This might get you started: http://www.alaskagold.com/valdez/hiking.html . You can do a guided ice hike on nearby Worthington Glacier. Would you be bringing a vehicle? The drive up to Glennallen is very scenic....and be aware you have to reserve space on the ferry for your vehicle. Also you could stop at the fish hatchery on Dayville Rd. to see returning salmon. Early or late in the day you have a decent chance of seeing sea lions or black bears catching salmon.

Another idea is to go to Wrangell-St. Elias NP. Lots of hiking there, including Root Glacier (guided). It likely would rain less than on the coast (most of coastal Alaska is temperate rainforest). No guarantees on weather, of course. Be aware that the McCarthy road can't be driven using most rental cars, but you could meet up with Kennecott shuttle or fly to McCarthy from Chitina or Glennallen.

Amarillo, Texas
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3. Re: is Valdez a

well, if we go, we can either take a car or leave it at Whittier and be pedestrian travelers.

Our son and his wife drove to Valdez and went kayaking, then took the ferry back to Whittier and drove back to Anchorage just last weekend. He said it was beautiful, and that the weather was perfect the day they arrived but it rained the day they kayaked. Our son thought the best part was the waterfalls outside of town, and that the whole place was picturesque, and they did enjoy the kayaking.

We've never kayaked, nor have we done the ice-hiking thing. Seeing Valdez is something we've not done before and I just wondered if it was worth a couple of days away from the kids (but they will both be working so that isn't really a deal-breaker). I know we can't count on weather.... since we love Homer, I just wonder if we would love Valdez. (smile)

Manitoba, Canada
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4. Re: is Valdez a

Well, I don't know. There aren't as many things to do in Valdez, and you can walk it in a very short time....

What I suggest if you have 2 or 3 days to yourselves (sans kids) is to take the ferry one way to Valdez, do an activity there (glacier hiking or some other hike or kayaking), then drive up Richardson Hwy to Paxson, drive the 20+ paved miles of scenic Denali Hwy with hiking and/or fishing along the way, overnight at the lodge or back at Denali Hwy Cabins, maybe do the evening wildlife float if it's running that night. If time, drive further north a bit on Richardson, then drive back to Anchorage via Glenn Hwy. If you didn't hike Worthington Glacier, you might hike Matanuska instead (easier). You'll see some incredible scenery along that route.

BTW, Paxson is 185 miles from Valdez, about 4 hrs. plus stops. Paxson to Anchorage would be 260 miles.

Another idea would be to take the ferry one way to Cordova, rent a car there and hike plus see Childs Glacier, then fly the other way back to Anchorage.

Amarillo, Texas
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5. Re: is Valdez a

thank you! Hadn't thought about going over to the Paxson area, but after following some links its quite interesting! That evening float trip sounds like fun! I appreciate that input; thanks again!

6. Re: is Valdez a

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