Valdez Travel Guide
Called the Switzerland of Alaska, Valdez is one of the most beautiful places in Alaska. Situated at the head of a deep, still Port Valdez fjord, the city is surrounded by the breathtaking Chugach Mountains, the most glaciated mountains in the northwest and only eleven miles from spectacular Prince William Sound.
Once the intersection between two Native tribes - the Chugach Eskimos to the south and the Ahtna, an Athabaskan speaking people from the Copper River Basin - it is unclear whether or not Valdez was actually the site of an ancient village. However, the native tribes, whose village surrounded the area, surely used the location for fishing and trading.
Despite numerous visits by explorers from Russia and England, the Valdez area was largely ignored by non-natives until the Gold Rush of 1896. In the winter of 1897 - 98, thousands of would-be prospectors flooded into Valdez with hopes to follow the "All American Route" that advertised a route over the Valdez Glacier and into the interior and the gold fields. Upon arriving, the prospectors were shocked to learn that not only was Valdez not an established city, but that no such trail existed.
U.S. Army Lieutenant William Abercrombie had told quite a story upon his arrival home from his 1884 Copper River Expedition, inaccurately relating the existence and path of this phantom trail that would take prospectors to the Yukon without crossing into Canadian territory. The story was advertised all over the United States and miners flocked to the location. A tent city appeared at the head of the Bay and the city of Valdez was born.
On March 27, 1964, the 9.2 magnitude Alaska earthquake shook the area for 5 minutes and was centered only 45 miles south of Valdez. The damage was devastating and expensive. Two docks were completely destroyed and 15 million dollars in damage was done. A submarine landslide beneath the surface of the earth sent millions of cubic yards of earth into Valdez Bay. The ground under Valdez was declared unstable and the Army Corps of Engineers moved the location of the city to the delta of Mineral Creek and more stable ground. The move took more than four years and 62 buildings were moved to the new location.
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline terminates in Valdez, bringing thousands of gallons of oil from Prudhoe Bay to the ice-free port in Valdez. The construction of the pipeline boosted the economy of Valdez, but the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 destroyed marine life in the area and bankrupted the nearby Chugach tribe, whose livelihood depended on the sea life.
The Chugach Mountains contain hundreds of glaciers, but five near Valdez are accessible by kayak, day cruise or on foot. Worthington Glacier is visible from the roadside.
VALDEZ QUICK STATISTICS
Annual Rainfall: 56.7 inches
Average July Temperature: 53 degrees
VALDEZ VISITOR INFORMATION
Address: Located at Fairbanks St. and Chenega Phone: (907) 835-2984
Valdez Chamber of Commerce
Address: 208 Chitina Phone: (907) 835-2330
READ UP ON VALDEZ
The Valdez Star
Address: PO Box 2949 Phone: (907) 835-2405
The film, On Deadly Ground, was filmed on Worthington Glacier, 30 miles outside Valdez.
Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum
Address: At the Airport Phone: (907) 834-1614
The Solomon Gulch Hatchery
Phone: (907) 835-1329
The Valdez Museum & Historical Archive
Address: 217 Egan Dr. Phone: (907) 835-2764
VALDEZ HOTELS AND LODGING
Best Western Valdez Harbor Inn
Address: 100 N Harbor Dr. Phone: (907) 835-3434 / (888) 222-3440
Blueberry Mary's B&B
Address: 810 Blueberry Hill R. Phone: (907) 835-5015.
Address: 401 W Egan Dr. Phone: (907) 835-3851 / (888) 835-0665
Mt. Sky Hotel
Address: 100 Meals Ave. Phone: (907) 835-4445 / (800) 478-4445
Wild Roses by the Sea B&B Retreat
Address: 629 Fiddlehead Lane Phone: (907) 835-2930
Thompson Pass Mountain Chalet
Address: Mile 19, Richardson Hwy. Phone: (907) 835-4817
The northernmost point of the coastal Pacific rainforest is in Valdez on Blueberry Hill.
VALDEZ FOOD AND DRINK
Address: 102 N Harbor Dr. Phone: (907) 835-5688
Fu Kung Chinese Restaurant
Address: 207 Kobuk Dr. Phone: (907) 835-5255
Mike's Palace Ristorante
Address: 201 N Harbor Dr. Phone: (907) 835-2365
Alaska Halibut House
Address: 208 Meals Ave. Phone: (907) 835-2788
Valdez Consortium Library
Address: 260 Fairbanks St. Phone: (907) 835-4632
Address: 300 Airport Rd. Phone: (907) 835-4402 / (800) 478-4402
Phone: (907) 277-5581 or (800) 544-2206
Note: Daily service to or from Anchorage.
In the TV show, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Valdez was the birthplace of first officer William Riker.
Valdez Airport / Pioneer Field
Address: 5 miles east of Valdez Phone: (907) 835-5658
Providence Valdez Medical Center
Address: 911 Meals Ave. Phone: (907) 835-2249
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