Owning the distinction as one of the smallest incorporated cities in the world, Whittier Alaska makes up for it's minute population with a generous backdrop of Alaskan beauty situated on the western perimeter of Prince William Sound.
With a permanent population of less
than 300, the city nevertheless sees 700,000 visitors travel through
its gates every year, many from ships cruising the Inside Passage.
This tourism traffic was enabled largely by the completion of the
Whittier Access Project which provides rail and vehicle access from
Whittier to Anchorage. Princess Cruises, for example, makes use of
this connectivity by offering a train tour from Whittier to it's
lodges in Denali as part of it's inland cruise packages.
Cascading down from Whittier Glacier some 600 feet over two tiers is Horsetail Falls. Viewing can be accessed using the Horsetail Falls Trail, a mile long boardwalk trek lined with blueberry and salmonberry bushes.
The U.S. Forest Service offers 6
reservable cabins in the area which are accessible by boat from
The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel is
an engineering marvel connecting Whittier to the Seward Highway. In
2000 it was revamped to accommodate vehicular traffic, and at 2.7
miles is the longest "railroad-highway" in North America.
The fjordal landscape of the Whittier Alaska coastal area is a favorite location for sea-kayaking. A popular trip is Blackstone Bay which contains Blackstone and Beloit Glaciers. Water taxi drop-off can be used from Whittier to access other fjords including Harriman, College and Unakwik.
There is some fascinating underwater
seascape in the area for scuba-divers, particularly around the Dutch
Group islands. Access by charter boat gives opportunity to view
octopuses, giant crabs and wolf eels. March through June is the best
season for this underwater activity.
Small ship glacier cruises are popular,
with tour boats departing daily during the summer from the small-boat
harbor. These four to six hour day-trips offer prime opportunities to
view a variety of Alaska wildlife from bald eagles to humpback
whales, not to mention exquisite views of area glaciers and fjords.
Located in the Anchor Inn, downtown
Whittier, the Prince William Sound Museum is one of the city's hidden
treasures. Voted one of the top 10 “must see” Alaskan museums by
Alaska Magazine and “an outstanding museum experience” in
the 2013 issue of Milepost,
the exhibition recounts area history, particularly Whittier's
military role in WWII. Hours are 9-7 daily with a $5 admission
before midnight on July 3 Whittier stages an old fashion 4th of July
Celebration with fireworks, followed by a parade, games and
activities for children, entertainment and a bar-be-cue feast.