Cordova (pop. 2,200) is noticeably less populated, less prosperous, and less accessible than its big-sister city Valdez—and most people like it that way. Though only a ferry ride away, its setting is its own, its climate is milder and wetter, and its vibration is nothing like Valdez’s.
But Cordova is more than just the coast; it’s also Chugach National Forest, Prince William Sound, and their abundant outdoor recreation; the Copper River and its wild rides and massive delta; spectacular Childs Glacier; railroad history and the Million Dollar Bridge.
Amid all of this is a bustling little community bursting at its seams during the summer fishing season, but also glued together by the magic of the fishing lifestyle. Drift over to Cordova and spend a couple of days exploring this special corner of Alaska—you’ll be glad you did.
Getting to Cordova
The Alaska Marine Highway (907/465-3941 or 800/642-0066, www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs) has daily ferry service connecting Cordova with Whittier and Valdez on both the high-speed Chenega and the older (and much slower) Aurora; a Forest Service naturalist is on board. It’s a 20-minute walk from the Cordova ferry terminal to town; take a right at the fork onto Railroad Avenue to avoid the 1st Avenue hill, then walk up Council Avenue.
The airport is 13 miles from town out on the Copper River Highway. Alaska Airlines (800/426-0333, www.alaskaair.com) provides daily connections to Anchorage, Yakutat, and Juneau. Era Aviation (907/266-8394 or 800/866-8394, www.frontierak.com) flies turboprops two or three times a day between Cordova and Anchorage. Cordova Air Service (907/424-3289) has flightseeing and charter flights throughout Prince William Sound.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition