Whittier, Alaska the gateway to beautiful Prince William Sound, is only 63 miles from Anchorage on the Seward Highway. It is accessible by car, bus or via the Alaska Railroad. The Alaska Railroad’s Glacier Discovery Train departs Anchorage at 10am and takes around 2.5 hours to arrive in Whittier. This gives visitors time for a glacier & wildlife day cruise in Prince William Sound before returning to Anchorage the same day.

Surrounded by three magnificent glaciers Whittier is an ice-free port. In November 1941, a port and railroad terminus project was undertaken by the U.S. Army for transport of fuel and other supplies into Alaska. On November 20, 1942, the “holing through” ceremonies were held on the Whittier-cutoff and the first train was run through the tunnels on March 10, 1943. The Portage tunnel is 0.9 miles long and Whittier tunnel is 2.5 miles long.

Change came in 2000 when, for the first time ever, residents were able to reach Whittier by road. The State of Alaska transformed the existing railroad tunnel into a one-lane, combination highway and railway tunnel, which allows cars and trains to take turns passing through. This effort is the longest combined rail and highway tunnel in North America.

Whittier is known for its access to Prince William Sound and the many outdoor activities in the area. These activities include fishing, kayaking, scuba diving, boating, and photography. Visitors can hike the Portage Pass Trail, go fishing on one of several area charter operations or explore Prince William Sound with some of the best Glacier Tour operators in the State.

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The Kenai – Alaska’s Playground: No other destination offers such an up close and personal Alaskan experience. With over 15,000 square miles of extraordinary adventure and excitement to choose from, even the rest of the state comes here when they need a reminder of why they moved to Alaska in the first place. That’s why it’s known as Alaska’s Playground.
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Things to Do in Whittier Alaska

Lazy Otter Charters is an Alaska family owned business that specializes in customized Prince William Sound adventures. Try a small boat Glacier and wildlife cruises or a guided kayaking trip. Visit their whimsical and charming café on the harbor serving espresso, baked goods, and soft serve ice cream.

Phillips Cruises & Tours

Phillips Cruises and Tours has two excellent cruise options in Whittier. Explore the calm, protected waters of Prince William Sound and come face to face with Towering tidewater glaciers, migratory whales, curious sea otters and breathtaking Alaska scenery aboard a stable smooth sailing catamaran.

From Whittier you can take the Alaska Railroad to a number of destinations including Seward, Anchorage, Denali National Park or a short trip to Spencer Glacier in Portage Recreation Area. This is an excellent place to get up close with glaciers and get to experience the beauty and vastness of Alaska.

Whittier Alaska FAQS

What is Whittier Alaska Known for?

Whittier is famous for being a town that almost all of it’s residents reside in a single building. The population of Whittier is around 200 people, and almost all residents live in the Begich Towers, a former Army Barracks built in 1974. Whittier is also know for only being accessible by boat or a single lane tunnel that is shared by cars and railroads on an alternating schedule. Finally, Whittier is know as a gateway to Prince William Sound, which is teeming with stunning scenery, glaciers and marine wildlife.

How long is the drive from Whittier to Anchorage?

Whittier is 58 miles from Anchorage. 47 miles on the Seward Highway plus an 11 mile spur road at Portage Recreation Area.

How Long is the Whittier Tunnel?

The Whittier tunnel is 2.5 miles long, making it the 2nd longest tunnel in North America. What make the tunnel unique is that is shared by cars and railroad on an alternating schedule. There is a toll to pass through the tunnel to Whittier, Alaska.

Map of Whittier Alaska

The town of Whittier may be small, but it hosts tens of thousands of visitors each year. Whittier is the closest cruise ship port-of-call to Anchorage. This map of Whittier shows the Whittier Tunnel, which is the only access to the city by road or rail.

Whittier Alaska Map
Map of Whittier Alaska

 

 

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