“Whittier, at the head of the Passage Canal, was originally part of the portage route for the Chugach Indians of Prince William Sound traveling to fish the Turnagain Arm: later the Russians and Americans exploring the region also used this portage. It was used extensively by prospecting miners during the gold rush. The city itself is a historical landmark, established by the U.S. Army during World War II. The Whittier railroad to Portage was completed in 1943 and became the primary debarkation point for cargo, troops, and dependents of the Alaska Command. Activities in Whittier include hiking the Portage Pass Trail or to the Salmon Runs, beachcombing, bird watching and berrypicking. Water sports include boating, sailing, kayaking, and scuba diving.”
Whittier is also the embarkation point for full or half day cruises to see the glaciers of Prince William Sound.
Logistics: Whittier is a two hour drive from Kenai/Soldotna along the scenic Sterling Highway; or a 2.5 hour drive from Anchorage. Rail service from Anchorage is also available. The tunnel which connects Whittier to the rest of the world serves both trains and cars, on an alternating basis, so check the schedule for car crossings if you’re driving to take the cruise boat. Whittier is one of the waypoints in the Kenai Peninsula flightseeing tour.
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