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.
Whittier is the cruise port for Anchorage, making this small town, one of the busiest ports in Alaska. Many of the Alaska Cruises that cross the Gulf of Alaska arrive or depart from Whittier. Because Whittier is so close to Anchorage it is easy to add on a land tour to Denali and Fairbanks before or after your Alaska Cruise.