Prince William Sound

After lots of back and forth, we’ve decided to paddle PWS for 3 weeks in July. We’ll likely launch from Whittier and have a few routes in mind. Any experience and advice is welcome. We have Twardock’s book which is fantastic.


That’s the best book

– Last Updated: Apr-07-07 9:16 PM EST –

by far! Are you taking a water taxi out of Passage Canal or are you going to paddle from town? If the latter, you can camp at Decision Pt. or you can time the tide right and paddle to Blackstone Bay. It's 17 miles and although fun, it was VERY tiring. You -really- have to watch the tide and weather. Winds WHIP off of Portage Glacier, which sits above Whittier, and funnels through Passage Canal. It gets better after Decision Pt.

Blackstone Bay makes a good paddle in istelf. You can camp on Willard Island. A gazzion waterfalls and a some glaciers. You need to hang your food, so bring plenty of line. On Williard, high tide will temp. seperate you from it, but it's only a few yards so you can paddle to it if need be. The island is very small so you'll be camping somewhere near others at times.

Surprise Cove is a great place to camp. That's at the head of Cochrane Bay. It has camping platfroms. Caught some of my best silvers there!

By far my favorite place is Harriman Fiord. A water taxi can drop you off, good place is Hobo Bay. Paddle up Barry Arm and into Harriman Fiord. Camp at the grassy area under Taboggan Glacier. You can reach it in a day paddle, maybe 13 miles or so. You can't miss it, good sandy landing. There's a tree to hang your food. Paddle over to Surprise and Serpetine Glaciers the next day. It's a good days paddle to explore. Harriman Glacier isn't worth the paddle all the way out there. It doesn't calve.

Same trip...Camping at Black Sand Beach next to Coxe Glacier is a trip! Spent a summer solstice there. You'll have 3 glaciers to explore. I must warn you though, Barry Glacier releases HUGE amounts of ice. It creates enormous waves. They may not look like much, but in about 60 seconds they'll reach the shore and will be a 10ft tall wall of fricken ice. When you hit that sand, get the hell out of your boat and secure it ALL THE WAY UP in the bushes, pronto! Tie it down!

Okay, I need a typing break. If you want more info. Let me know. I have several other trips. Twardock's book really is the best guide. But so is local knowledge! Stop by Alaska Sea Kayakers. Pete's really cool and so are the guides. They will tell you the do's and don'ts. You can also share the cost of the water taxi w/other folks, if they are going out.

Hope that helps.

Another good place
Is Port Nellie Juan. I paddled there in 1998 with a group, and we paddled to the Nellie Juan Glacier, Deepwater Bay (Where our camp was), and King’s Bay.

You can also paddle out to Falls Bay from there. A water taxi would be good to get you there, but you could also paddle — it would take 2-3 days (I’m guessing) to get there. We used Lazy Otter charters for that. Captain Mike is a really good guy.

Have fun!!!


great help
Fantastic advice, thanks so much. We plan on paddling out of Whittier. Our daily paddling is in NY Harbor so we’re used to heavy traffic and, tides permitting, will get as far from Whittier as possible on day 1. We certainly plan on talking to the outfitters in town, nothing at all like local knowledge.

More information would be great. We have 3 weeks on the water and will likely paddle the eastern Sound first then head towards the islands near Valdez. It all sounds good and the choices are overwhelming (it took us months just to decide where in Alaska to go).


we’re paddling out
Because we have the time, and do plan on visiting those areas. PNJ looks beautiful and we’re sure to camp in the area, thanks for your advice Wayne.