Valdez, Alaska

Old Apr 16th, 2016, 07:02 AM
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Valdez, Alaska

A few weeks ago I asked for suggestions about sightseeing on the Kanai Peninsula. Thank you for your answers.

We plan to travel in early July, 2016.

Would it be a good idea to include Valdez? I am considering driving to Valdez and then taking the ferry from Valdez to Whittier.

Are the drive and ferry ride scenic? Are there things to see on the way to, in or near Valdez that would make the trip worthwhile?

HTtY

PS We have previously taken a cruise as far as Skagway and that included Tracy Arm Fjord, which was our favorite part of the cruise. We are no longer able to hike or kayak, and we do not want to travel anyplace in a small airplane or helicopter.
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Old Apr 16th, 2016, 07:38 AM
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Hi - Last June we did just that on our Alaska vacation. We took the Richardson hwy from Glennellen down to Valdez. The drive was very scenic. In Valdez we stayed one night and next morning took the ferry to Whittier with our car. The ferry ride was lovely - very relaxing and nice views of the area. I would highly recommend this.
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Old Apr 16th, 2016, 07:54 AM
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The Richardson Hwy between Copper Center and Valdez is incredibly scenic, among the best lengths of road in Alaska. Worthington Glacier, right next to the road at Thompson Pass, is accessible on foot, or spectacular just to look at.

Valdez is in a spectacular setting but the town itself is (IMO) meh. The ferry across PWS to Whittier is fairly scenic. It doesn't get as close to the Columbia Glacier as it used to; if you really want to see glaciers the various day cruises out of Whittier are far superior. The ferry is quite expensive, of course.

If your vehicle is allowed on gravel roads (most rentals aren't) and if you have the time, the Edgerton/McCarthy roads are scenic after some distance.
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Old Apr 16th, 2016, 09:40 AM
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if you really want to see glaciers the various day cruises out of Whittier are far superior.

Thanks for this tip. Are the destinations different than for the cruises out of Seward?

The Richardson Hwy between Copper Center and Valdez is incredibly scenic

Aside from the Kenai Peninsula, are there other highly scenic drives near Anchorage?

HTtY
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Old Apr 16th, 2016, 09:55 AM
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Thanks for this tip. Are the destinations different than for the cruises out of Seward?

Yes, the Seward boats mostly go to Kenai Fjords National Park, which is more noted for its marine wildlife than glaciers. (And those boats are on open ocean for a time and can be quite bumpy.) The Whittier boats mostly go up into College Fjord, which has several tidewater glaciers that you'll pass. Look here for example - https://www.phillipscruises.com/ . These are easy day trips from Anchorage.

Aside from the Kenai Peninsula, are there other highly scenic drives near Anchorage?

Well, since there are only two roads out of town, one to the Kenai and the other north to the Mat-Su Valley, there isn't a lot of choice. From Palmer, the Glenn Highway east toward Glennallen is quite scenic; the Parks Highway, north through Wasilla and on to Denali and Fairbanks, less so until you're closer to Denali Park. The Seward Highway south/east to Girdwood, Cooper Landing, Seward and on down the Kenai peninsula, is incredibly scenic for most of the way to Seward, less so south of Cooper Landing (where it becomes the Sterling Hwy) toward Homer. But in Homer the scenery over Kachemak Bay will knock your eyeballs out.
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Old Apr 16th, 2016, 11:52 AM
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Thanks, Gardyloo. I have my air and car booked: July 3-11.

HTtY
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Old Apr 17th, 2016, 05:25 AM
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Gardyloo has given you very good tips. I had been on both highways to Homer and Valdez and I highly recommend for scenic driving. There are short walk to scenic points for both highways. You can check on my reports for Alaska with photos. Just click on my name and find the report.
I also like the drive from anchorage to Wasila to visit the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Museum and Independence Mine State Historical Park.
There are a lot to see from Glennallen to Valdez and make sure you stop at the Wrangell–St. Elias National Park visitor center. You can see the Wrangell–St. Elias mountain ranges from there.
You have given a lot of good tips for my travel planning, and in return I wish you a happy travel in Alaska.
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Old Apr 17th, 2016, 06:31 AM
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Thanks, Cherthor, for your kind words and good wishes. I love this forum.

HTtY
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Old Apr 17th, 2016, 06:41 AM
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Thank you Gardyloo and Cherthor for your tips. My wife and I are taking a trip to Alaska about a month ahead of HTtY.
I will be laying out our plans and asking any questions we may have in a new thread.
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Old Apr 21st, 2016, 06:50 AM
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"Would it be a good idea to include Valdez?"
- depends on how long your vacation is and the other places you plan on visiting.I believe on your other post I provided a list of a variety of destinations and how much time I'd spend at each.

e.g. For most AK visitors, coming to AK for a week, there's not enough time available to include Valdez

"Are the drive and ferry ride scenic?"
- yes

"Are there things to see on the way to, in or near Valdez that would make the trip worthwhile?"
- yes
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Old Apr 21st, 2016, 01:56 PM
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Thanks,sdpyde. I came to the same conclusion mainly because I booked my flights before taking into account that the ferry doesn't sail every day and that we would want to take the ferry from Whittier because the ferry from Valdez leaves too early in the day for our liking.

Not to worry. We are looking forward to the Kenai Fjord Cruise, the 26 Glacier Cruise, and a quite time in Homer.

HTtY
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Old Apr 21st, 2016, 01:57 PM
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Thanks,sdpyde. I came to the same conclusion mainly because I booked my flights before taking into account that the ferry doesn't sail every day and that we would want to take the ferry from Whittier because the ferry from Valdez leaves too early in the day for our liking.

Not to worry. We are looking forward to the Kenai Fjord Cruise, the 26 Glacier Cruise, and a quite time in Homer.

HTtY
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Old Apr 22nd, 2016, 03:41 PM
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FYI...
Homer has the best food in AK (and can hold it's head high to virtually anywhere I've ever been). Some of the better places require a reservation.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2016, 04:18 PM
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Thanks for the restaurant tip. I found several places that receive very good reviews on TripAdvisor. Do you have a favorite?

HTtY
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Old Apr 25th, 2016, 07:14 AM
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Homer & favorite restaurants...

http://twosistersbakery.net/
https://www.facebook.com/LittlemermaidHomerAK

for a good 'diner type' of meal/breakfast: http://duncanhousediner.com/
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Old Apr 25th, 2016, 08:32 AM
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Thanks, sdpryde. We will check them out.

HTtY
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Old May 27th, 2016, 07:45 PM
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We did 7 day road trip and covered Anchorage, Denali, and Valdez. It was wonderful and our experiences with pictures can be found in the blog below.

http://www.lifeasweexplore.com/home/...aska-road-trip
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Old May 28th, 2016, 04:51 AM
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Thanks for the link. Beautiful. Have you ever been to the Kenai Peninsula?

HTtY
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Old May 28th, 2016, 08:09 AM
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Do you like to hike? We found the most incredible hiking at Thompson Pass. Most folks just stop and look at Worthington Glacier, but if you head off on the opposite side of the road, you're in for some spectacular views. No trail, but you use the glacier as a direction finder. Without a trail though, I had to walk on many beautiful alpine flowers, which made me sad. Liked it so much (and was totally unimpressed with the town of Valdez) that we went back a second day to soak up the atmosphere.

Found this online. Shows some photos too.

"Thompson Pass
Flickr photos -Alpine hiking, Pipeline road There is so much to explore up there - And whatever you do - Don't be in a rush to get into Valdez. You are just going to want to come right back to the pass. My favorite thing to do is park the car at one of the turn outs - Blueberry lake is nice. Walk for awhile to get away from the road and find a nice sunny spot out of the wind (you can bet on the wind up there). Then sit very still and watch the marmots come out and check you out. The silence will attack you! It's incredible in all the seasons."
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Old May 28th, 2016, 08:11 AM
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Here's the link for above page to get to photos.

http://www.alaskagold.com/valdez/hiking.html
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