This Drive to an Alaska Town is a Waterfall Wonderland

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One route that truly stands out in Alaska is the journey to a town called Valdez.

On this drive, you’ll find yourself surrounded by cascading waterfalls that transform the landscape into a stunning oasis, making every twist and turn an opportunity to experience the awe-inspiring power of nature.

As you plan your trek to this charming town, prepare for a full day of discovery. The drive takes approximately 5 to 6 hours without stops, but with so much to see, including the notable Keystone Canyon falls, taking your time is the best approach.

Our guide will take you from Anchorage to Valdez, highlighting must-see waterfalls along the way, like Rudleston Falls and the stunning views of Keystone Canyon. Get ready to explore waterfalls, nature trails, and the beauty of Valdez with us.

Setting Off Toward Valdez

Your journey to Valdez will typically start from Anchorage. You'll take the Glenn Highway (Route 1) northeast to Glennallen from there. Then, switch to the Richardson Highway (Route 4), which leads you south straight to Valdez.

Along the Richardson Highway, there are ample opportunities to safely pull over and enjoy the natural scenery on your way to Valdez.

Stunning Waterfall Stops on the Way to and Around Valdez

Below are the most captivating waterfalls you'll come across when you head to Valdez.

1. Rudleston Falls

After driving through the scenic Thompson Pass, Rudleston Falls awaits with its icy cascade. It's a hidden gem, not frequently mentioned in travel guides, but offers a serene spot for a quick photo or a moment of reflection.

2. Keystone Canyon Falls

As you venture through Keystone Canyon on the Richardson Highway, you're met with awe-inspiring views of its famous waterfalls, including the enchanting Bridal Veil and Horsetail Falls.

Bridal Veil Falls

View of Bridal Veil Falls in Keystone Canyon

Among Valdez's most photographed waterfalls is Bridal Veil Falls, visible from the Richardson Highway. Its elegant descent is reminiscent of a bride's veil, making it a perfect backdrop for your memorable photos.

Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls in Keystone Canyon along the Richardson Highway near Valdez, Alaska

Just a stone's throw from Bridal Veil, Horsetail Falls impresses visitors with its graceful flows that fan out over rugged rocks, resembling a horse's tail.

3. Solomon Gulch

Solomon Gulch Waterfall, Valdez, Alaska

Solomon Gulch isn't just about the waterfall; it's also where the salmon run occurs. Here, you'll witness the power of nature both in the water's fall and the lifecycle of these determined fish.

4. Crooked Creek

scenic Crooked Creek Falls, starting at 16 feet, splitting off into the creek

As you move towards the town of Valdez, pause at Crooked Creek for a mid-journey break and listen to the soothing sounds of falling water for a quiet moment.

This enchanting waterfall in Dayville Road is located near the Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery and the Solomon Gulch Hydroelectric Project, offering a moment of natural beauty and a glimpse into the area's blend of natural resources and sustainable practices.

5. Horsetail Creek Falls

Horsetail Falls in Keystone Canyon near Valdez, Alaska

Not to be confused with Horsetail Falls, Horsetail Creek Falls cascades down its creek. The trail to this natural spectacle starts on Mineral Creek Drive, taking you through mossy rocks and surrounding greenery, offering a vivid contrast to the white froth of the falls.

6. Gold Creek Waterfall

A waterfall on the gold creek near Juneau, Alaska.

Further down Gold Creek Road lies Gold Creek Waterfall, a picturesque waterfall right by the road. It's a quick stop that doesn't require a hike, so it's perfect for all ages and activity levels.

This area is accessible via the Shoup Bay Trail, where a bridge over Gold Creek allows easy crossing​​.

For those seeking adventure, a kayaking journey from the small boat harbor into Port Valdez offers an up-close experience with the natural beauty surrounding Gold Creek, including the waterfall, and opportunities to spot local wildlife.

7. Anderson Falls

Dramatic Anderson Falls on the Valdez arm of Prince William Sound in Alaska

Your waterfall expedition wouldn't be complete without seeing Anderson Falls. With an easy walk to get a closer look, this waterfall makes an excellent finale for your adventure.

Tips for the Waterfall Wonderland Drive

Setting out on a Waterfall Wonderland Drive to Valdez offers a journey through some of Alaska's most breathtaking landscapes. To ensure a fulfilling experience, consider these tips:

  1. Timing Your Visit: Late May through July is ideal, as the waterfalls are most vibrant due to the meltwater from snow and ice. This period also provides extended daylight for safer and longer exploration.
  2. Start Early: The drive from Anchorage to Valdez is around 6 hours without stops. Get an early start so you can enjoy several stopovers and the full beauty of the waterfalls without rushing.
  3. Plan Your Stops: You'll find mesmerizing waterfalls between miles 14 and 17 of the Richardson Highway. Include these spots in your itinerary to witness the cascading waters up close.
  4. Wildlife Precautions: You might encounter wildlife. Keep a safe distance and store food securely.
  5. Leave No Trace: Preserve the beauty. Whatever you bring, take back, and dispose of waste properly.
  6. Local Insights: Chat with locals for hidden gems. They might lead you to spots like the Edge Nature Trail for an additional feast for the eyes.

Valdez Waterfall Discovery Map

Your journey leads to a treasure trove of cascading natural wonders just waiting to be discovered in the scenic town of Valdez. Here's a detailed map to guide you through the highlights, ensuring you won't miss a splash.

This Drive to an Alaska Town is a Waterfall Wonderland [Note: Valdez is the town]

Start Your Unforgettable Drive to Valdez!

Short drives don't always lead to magnificent places, but this one breaks the mold.

Known for its majestic waterfalls, Valdez boasts a backdrop that enriches every activity. You've arrived not just at a destination but at an understanding of why this drive is a waterfall wonderland.

Take your time, soak in the sights, and let the road to Valdez fill you with awe and inspiration!

Craving more excitement in this charming town? Our extensive list of activities has something for everyone!

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