Exploring Prince WIlliam Sound

Into the Backcountry

kayaker floating amidst icebergsPrince William Sound provides excellent opportunities for backcountry adventure, solitude and wildlife observation. The Sound has more tidewater glaciers than any other region in North America and is encompassed by the 5.4 million acre Chugach National Forest.

1.9 million acres of the western Sound are designated as the Nellie Juan College Fiord Wilderness Study Area to preserve its unique wilderness character. Immense ice fields surround this inland waterway and give rise to magnificent tidewater glaciers that tumble into the sea. Icebergs and postglacial terrain are hallmarks of the landscape, offering a unique glimpse of geology and post-glacial reforestation in action.

Getting There

Most visitors begin their journey in Anchorage. With a population of over 250,000 it has just about everything you'll need to prepare for a backcountry visit

By road...

The Seward Highway is a designated National Scenic Byway and connects Anchorage to Whittier, the primary gateway community to the western Sound

Since the completion of the Whittier Tunnel Project in 2000, vehicles have been able to access Whittier by traveling through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, the longest vehicle tunnel in North America. Trains and vehicles use the tunnel on a rotating schedule.

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By rail...

The Alaska Railroad now services the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage and provides direct service to Girdwood, Whittier and the Kenai Peninsula town of Seward.

By water and air...

United States Forest Service interpreters provide information to visitors on select train trips as well as on the marine highway ferries and some smaller cruises that ply the Sounds waters.

From Whittier ocean taxi services, sea kayak rental and guiding businesses and Alaska Marine Highway ferries are available. Air taxi services are available in Anchorage usually departing from Lake Hood or from Girdwood.