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The 5 Best Things to Do in Valdez, Alaska

The beautiful port town of Valdez should be included on any Alaska itinerary. It lies in the heart of Alaska’s adventure corridor, which runs from Valdez to Anchorage and is a wonderland of adventure activities including hiking and ice climbing. These are the five best things to do in Valdez, Alaska.

Visit Valdez Glacier

Valdez Glacier is incredibly accessible. After a short drive from downtown Valdez, you can park in a free lot and walk right up to the shores of the glacier lake, where you can pick up a floating chunk of ice, or just sit and admire the scenery. You can also kayak, canoe, or go stand-up paddleboarding here, but it’s best to go with a knowledgeable guide, as the glacier is very unstable and can calve at any time.


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Bridal Veil Falls Trail

This short and easy hike brings walkers to an incredible viewpoint directly above the towering Bridal Veil Falls and Keystone Canyon. This trail follows the restored Trans-Alaska Military Pack-train Trail, and there is good educational signage along the way to explain the site’s history.

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Gold Creek Coastal Kayak Tour

Pangaea Adventures’ Gold Creek Coastal Kayak Tour is a great way to see one of the lesser-known areas of Valdez. Gold Creek State Park encompasses wild beach and rainforest, and can be accessed by a relatively easy kayak from Valdez’s small boat harbor. You’ll paddle through beautiful Prince William Sound, keeping an eye out for wildlife like seals, whales, and otters, before landing on a deserted beach for lunch. After you eat, you’ll walk through a lush rainforest to a hidden waterfall before kayaking back.


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Valdez Museum and Historical Archive

The Valdez Museum and Historical Archive showcases Valdez’s colorful history, from the European exploration in the 1700s all the way through to more contemporary events, like the tragic Valdez oil spill. Rotating temporary exhibits showcase local artists and change about four times a year. The permanent exhibits include unique artifacts such as a restored vintage steam fire engine, pieces from the gold rush, and even an ancient saloon.

Columbia Glacier Kayak Tour

Anadyr Adventures’ 10-hour Columbia Glacier Kayak Tour begins with an hour-long cruise through Prince William Sound, where you’ll see everything from waterfalls to otters. When you arrive at Columbia Glacier, you’ll load into kayaks and paddle around Alaska’s second largest glacier. You’ll observe active icebergs crackling and popping and flipping, plus have the chance to hike around the nearby forest.


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Caroline Morse Teel was hosted by the Alaska Tourism Board. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline for photos of the best things to do in Alaska and the rest of the world.

By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

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