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Shoehorned into a narrow strip of land along Passage Canal, tiny Whittier (pop. 300) is where many cruise ship trips to Alaska start or end. The landscape part of Chugach National Forest is dramatic, with glaciers and steep mountains dropping into a deep fjord. A unique auto-and-railroad tunnel cuts through the mountains, linking Whittier with Anchorage; it's open for cars some of the time, and trains from the Alaska Railroad at other periods. On the west end of the tunnel, Portage Glacier has an interesting visitor center and summertime boat tours to the glacier. Whittier's setting is pretty, but the town itself is very basic, consisting ...

Shoehorned into a narrow strip of land along Passage Canal, tiny Whittier (pop. 300) is where many cruise ship trips to Alaska start or end. The landscape part of Chugach National Forest is dramatic, with glaciers and steep mountains dropping into a deep fjord. A unique auto-and-railroad tunnel cuts through the mountains, linking Whittier with Anchorage; it's open for cars some of the time, and trains from the Alaska Railroad at other periods. On the west end of the tunnel, Portage Glacier has an interesting visitor center and summertime boat tours to the glacier. Whittier's setting is pretty, but the town itself is very basic, consisting primarily of two concrete buildings built during the Cold War for the military. One was abandoned after the 1964 earthquake, while the other now provides 14 stories of apartment living. Whittier is served by the state ferry system, and several companies lead boat tours to the glaciers of Prince William Sound. The Forest Service rents cozy cabins that are perfect for kayakers looking for a rustic wilderness adventure.

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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