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Overview

Located 140 air miles southeast of Anchorage, the town of Cordova (pop. 2,200) faces the teeming waters of Prince William Sound. Commercial fishing — especially on the nearby Copper River Delta — is a mainstay of the economy, and Copper River red salmon have gained an international market. No roads connect Cordova with the rest of Alaska, but the town is accessible by air from Anchorage and Juneau or by Alaska state ferry from Valdez and Whittier. A small downtown museum and the nearby Ilanka Cultural Center are worth a visit, but the real attraction is the surrounding country, much of which lies within Chugach National Forest. A 50-mile ...

Located 140 air miles southeast of Anchorage, the town of Cordova (pop. 2,200) faces the teeming waters of Prince William Sound. Commercial fishing — especially on the nearby Copper River Delta — is a mainstay of the economy, and Copper River red salmon have gained an international market. No roads connect Cordova with the rest of Alaska, but the town is accessible by air from Anchorage and Juneau or by Alaska state ferry from Valdez and Whittier. A small downtown museum and the nearby Ilanka Cultural Center are worth a visit, but the real attraction is the surrounding country, much of which lies within Chugach National Forest. A 50-mile dirt road (Copper River Highway) leads east from Cordova, with side roads to scenic hikes, camping spots, and icy glaciers. It crosses the so-called Million Dollar Bridge over the Copper River, built in 1910 and rebuilt after the devastating 1964 earthquake, but the road abruptly ends a few miles after this. Copper River Highway lies atop an old railroad bed that once led to rich copper mines in the Kennicott area north of here. Childs Glacier is a highlight near the Million Dollar Bridge, calving massive columns of ice into the river.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Don Pitcher for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer for most activities, but May for the shorebird migration