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, where you can find deep fjords, snow-capped mountains, tidal water glaciers and rainforests all in one place. 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.

Prince William Sound, Valdez Alaska
Prince William Sound, Alaska

Not only is Valdez itself a beautiful place to visit, the road trip 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.

Directions

To get to Valdez from Anchorage, you can either choose to embark on a complete 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.

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.

From Valdez to Whittier: View from our ferry
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

Road trip to Valdez from 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 embarked. In this 300-mile journey, I have seen rushing rivers, crystalline glaciers, immersing mountain views, and lush valleys at every twist and turn.

Valdez Road Trip, Alaska
Eagle River, Glenn Highway Alaska
Valdez Road Trip, Alaska
Matanuska Valley, Glenn Highway, Alaska
Matanuska Glacier, Anchorage to Valdez, Alaska
Matanuska Glacier, Alaska
Road trip from Anchorage to Valdez, Alaska
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
Valdez, the little Switzerland of Alaska
Valdez, the little Switzerland of 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.

Worthington Glacier, Valdez, Alaska
Worthington Glacier, Richardson Highway, Alaska

Arriving in Valdez

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.

Valdez, Alaska

Valdez, Alaska
Valdez, Alaska
Valdez, Alaska
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 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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Road trip from Anchorage to Valdez, Alaska

Julie Cao

Julie Cao is a travel blogger, travel writer, and global citizen currently living in Toronto Ontario.

12 thoughts on “From Anchorage to Valdez: Discover the Beauty of the Last Frontier

  • February 25, 2017 at 1:49 am
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    such stunning images! alaska looks like a mixture of cold and warmth in these shots. green and snow, never thought they could come together. fascinating!

    Reply
    • March 2, 2017 at 6:02 pm
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      Alaska is the best in summer. Those green and snow landscapes can hardly makes you feel it is summer but the weather is great there also.

      Reply
  • February 25, 2017 at 6:50 am
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    This really looks like some amazing place to go to 🙂 Alaska is really something different… It’s on my bucket list and I can’t wait to finally visit it 🙂

    Reply
    • March 2, 2017 at 6:03 pm
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      Alaska is really a different place. I wish you could visit there in the future.

      Reply
  • February 28, 2017 at 3:45 am
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    I have been wanting to visit Alaska for awhile now and Valdez looks amazing. I would love to embark on a road trip to Valdez. Your photos represent the beauty of Alaska so perfectly. I will remember your tip to visit the Worthington Glacier Centre.

    Reply
    • March 2, 2017 at 6:05 pm
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      Valdez is small but a really nice place to visit. Be sure to spend a day or two checking out the surrounding areas, as they have great sites as Valdez.

      Reply
  • February 28, 2017 at 5:19 pm
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    Price William Sound looks like a dream! Those blue hues are gorgeous. I’m also a sucker for a waterfall and the cascading waters of Bridal Veil Falls looks like the perfect spot to stop on a roadtrip.

    Reply
    • March 2, 2017 at 6:05 pm
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      Prince William Sound is really beautiful and you can take a cruise to check out the glacier retreating activities too

      Reply
  • February 28, 2017 at 6:55 pm
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    Gorgeous photos and the all seem to have snowcapped mountains in the distance! Alaska is on my list of top places I want to live. The nature is just incredible.

    Reply
  • March 1, 2017 at 4:41 pm
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    Wow such beautiful description and vivid pictures. This place on my list for long.

    Hope I get to travel soon!

    Reply
    • March 2, 2017 at 6:08 pm
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      Thanks Archana! I just left the pictures as they are; I did not process any as I do not need to, but they still do not do the beautiful scenery the justice. You have to see it with your own eyes.

      Reply
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