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Valdez - Alaska

A scenic stay on Prince William Sound

Alaska Hotels | Camping

Prince William Sound is one of the most beautiful bodies of water on earth. The 1989 oil spill, which made this area notorious around the world has had little effect on the visible environment. The sound continues to be a beautiful, supremely-scenic, area.

Valdez is the place to base a visit to magnificent Prince William Sound. Cordova is a scenic ferry ride from Valdez. The area is home to thousands of sea otters, bald eagles, sea lions, and killer whales.

Named for Spanish naval captain Antonio Valdes, Valdez (pronounced val-deez) was founded by a few prospectors looking for an easier way to reach the Klondike gold fields. The Valdez Glacier proved an insurmountable barrier. Copper was discovered in the Wrangell mountains in the early 1900s and the town revived. The earthquake of 1964 devastated Valdez with tidal waves, and the government ordered the town moved four miles away from the original townsite.

Modern Valdez lives on the oil boom that resulted in the building of the Trans-Alaska pipeline, bringing oil from the north slope oil fields to the terminal in Valdez. Fishing is important to the economy as well. The oil terminal houses 18 large storage tanks which hold the oil until it can be pumped into tanker ships. A guided tour of the terminal leaves from the Westmark Hotel 800-764-0017 or 907- 463-6208)
.

Valdez Heritage Center, a museum, concentrates on the 1964 earthquake and the impact of the pipeline. Displays show early Native history and maps from the Russian period. Two spectacular waterfalls, Bridal Veil and Horse Tail, are found 13 miles (21 km) up the Richardson Highway. Mineral Creek Road provides a scenic drive with alpine views.

The gem of Prince William Sound is the Columbia Glacier, which once filled the entire sound. Now covering about 440 square miles (1,139 sq. km), the glacier rises to 300 feet above the water. Many take the ferry from Valdez to Whittier to view the glacier from a distance of two miles. Several cruises are available for a close-up look at the gigantic piece of ice, which plunges 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) below the surface of the sea. Walk around the small boat harbor to investigate tour times and prices.

Valdez Camping

Bear Paw RV Park
P.O. Box 93, Valdez AK 99686
(907) 835-2530
The RV facility is right on the small boat harbor, in downtown Valdez. Facilities include full and partial hookups, level sites, restrooms, showers, laundry, and dump station. The park is the ticket agent for Stan Stephens Cruises which offers Columbia Glacier cruises and fishing charters.

Eagle's Rest RV Park
630 East Pioneer Drive, Valdez AK 99686
(907) 835-2373 or 800-553-7275
With all the facilities a traveler to Alaska could want, this RV park features sites with full hookups, and also tent sites, with overnight rates ranging from $15 to $22. Other facilities include showers; gas, diesel, and propane; laundry; dump station; e-mail facility; fishing licenses; fish cleaning table; a walk-in freezer, and a golf driving range. The RV park arranges tour bookings for all major attractions in the area.

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