From Anchorage to Valdez: Discover the Beauty of the Last Frontier


One of the most beautiful places in Alaska is Valdez, also known as the Little Switzerland of Alaska, where the snow-capped Chugach Mountains and shimmering water bring Switzerland to mind. Even though the city was rebuilt after the 1964 earthquake, its beautiful landscape never ceases to amaze the visitors.

Valdez is the getaway to Prince William Sound that has the highest concentration of tidal water glaciers and deep fjords in the world. Valdez is also an important fishing port, the terminus of the Trans-Alaska pipeline, and it has many hiking trails, snow-capped mountains, and incredible coastlines.

Anchorage to Valdez. Alaska

Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Not only is Valdez itself a beautiful place to visit, the road trip from Anchorage to Valdez also involves all the natural wonders and remote wilderness the last frontier has to offer. In this post, I will tell you about how to get to Valdez, tips, and the breathtaking scenery on the road.

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To get from Anchorage to Valdez, you can either choose to do a six-hour road trip, or the combination of a road-trip and ferry.

Six hour road trip from Anchorage (300 miles)

From Anchorage, get to 6th Avenue and drive north towards Palmer. Exit East (Palmer Glennallen) to the Glenn Highway and travel all the way to Glennallen. After that, turn left on Richardson Highway and travel all the way to Valdez.

Anchorage to Valdez Alaska

Photo credit: Jimmy Emerson via Flicker

There are restaurants and hotels in Glennallen for you to take a break. Fill your gas tank before leaving Anchorage, and do not skip the gas station in Glennallen as it is the only gas station on the road.

Road-trip and ferry via Whittier

From Anchorage, get on the Seward Highway (AK-1) and turn left on the Portage Glacier Road. Cross the tunnel to Whittier. From there, take the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry to Valdez.

Check out the Alaska Marine Highway System website for information on the schedule and the cost of the ferry.  Be sure to book your tickets in advance.

Anchorage to Valdez. Alaska

From Valdez to Whittier: View from our ferry

In summer, you can travel to Whittier from Anchorage by train. For more information, please visit Alaska Railroad.

The beauty of the road trip in the last frontier

Getting from Anchorage to Valdez through Glenn Highway and Richardson Highway is one of the most underrated road trips in the USA, even in Alaska. However, this road trip outshines the rest on which I have taken. In this 300-mile journey, I have seen rushing rivers, crystalline glaciers, immersing mountain views, and lush valleys at every twist and turn.

Anchorage to Valdez

Eagle River, Glenn Highway Alaska

Anchorage to Valdez

Matanuska Valley, Glenn Highway, Alaska

Anchorage to Valdez

Matanuska Glacier, Alaska

Anchorage to Valdez

Stunning vistas on the road from Anchorage to Valdez, Alaska

Bridal Veil Falls, Keystone Canyon, Richardson Highway, Valdez Alaska

Bridal Veil Falls, Keystone Canyon, Richardson Highway, Alaska

Before arriving in Valdez, you will pass the Worthington Glacier Recreation Center. Make sure to stop there and take a short walk to the glacier and touch the blue ice. It is one of the few places in Alaska where you can walk on the glacier without joining a commercial tour.

Anchorage to Valdez

Worthington Glacier, Richardson Highway, Alaska

Arriving in Valdez, Alaska

I have stayed in Valdez for four days and I left completely amazed by its beauty and serenity. Here are some of my favorite pictures from my trip in Valdez so you can see why I still talk about this place after so many years.

Anchorage to Valdez, Alaska

Anchorage to Valdez, Alaska

Summer morning in Valdez Harbor, Alaska

Anchorage to Valdez

Fishing port and ferry terminal, Valdez, Alaska

I hope this post helps you to discover more of the great state of Alaska and inspire you to travel there. Although the road trip from Anchorage to Valdez is long and hard, the wonderful landscape, the wilderness, and the remoteness will create a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that you will never forget.

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Alaska summer road trip from Anchorage to Valdez


Julie Cao

Julie is the creator of Always On The Way. She lived in Hawaii and now resides in London (Ontario, Canada). In 2017, she went on an overland trip from Bogota Colombia to Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. She believes travel is not only about visiting tourist attractions but more about getting to know the culture, people, and the place.

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