Whittier

Whittier Locator Map

Population: 159

Whittier is located at the head of Passage Canal on Prince William Sound, 59 miles south of Anchorage via the Seward Highway and Whittier Access Road.
 

Visitor information:
Greater Whittier Chamber of Commerce and the City of Whittier.

Named after the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, Whittier was created by the U.S. Army during WWII as an port and petroleum delivery center. The 14-story Begich Towers, now a condominium, was originally used by the U.S. Army for family housing and civilian bachelor quarters. Today it houses more than half  of Whittier’s population and the City Offices.

Whittier is port of call for the Alaska State Ferry system's Prince William Sound service to Valdez and Cordova, and is also a port for cruise ships. 

A railroad spur from Portage was completed in 1943, and Whittier became the primary military debarkation point for Alaska. Whittier was accessible only by railroad and by ferry until 2000, when the Whittier spur road was completed. Vehicle traffic to Whittier must transit the single-lane, 2.5-mile-long Anton Anderson Tunnel, alternating tunnel time with both the railroad and east-west traffic.

Whittier has limited accommodations. June's Whittier Condo Suites has 12 rooms; also check the chamber website. Many of the restaurants such as Varly's Swiftwater Seafood Cafe, shops and tour offices are seasonal, operating only during the summer. The Harbor Store has groceries, fishing supplies and an ATM. Card gas available at the harbor, which also has marine services and repairs, a marine supply store, boat launch and lift, freight services, dry storage and self-storage units. There is a campground located near the public parking area and overnight RV parking (no services) near the east end of the tunnel.

Whittier Map

Attractions:
  • Guided kayaking, customized wildlife and glacier cruises, fishing charters and water taxis for kayak and camper drop-off in Prince William Sound; Honey Charters, Lazy Otter Charters and Cafe, MJ's Bread and Butter Charters. Scheduled glacier and wildlife cruises with food service from Major Marine Tours and Prince William Sound Glacier Cruises.
  • Enjoy watching all the activity going on at Whittier’s harbor as visitors arrive and depart by cruise ship, tour boat, ferry, charter boat, kayak.
  • Annual Walk to Whittier, held the second Sunday in June, when the Anton Anderson tunnel is open to walkers for 2 hours.
  • Explore Smitty’s Cove, Cove Creek picnic area and Salmon Run (Shotgun Cove) hiking trail along coastline.
  • Hike Portage Pass Trail to the pass at 750 feet elevation.
  • Prince William Sound Museum, A Tribute to Alaska’s Legends, has several exhibits highlighting the town’s history, including the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, the Alaska Railroad, and heroic rescue and survival stories.

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