are all part of the Princess Cruise family that comes into Whittier, Alaska. In addition to the Princess Cruise Ships, are the Crystal Cruises and Crystal Serenity Cruises. For those that want to go on into Anchorage, they can take the motor coach, train, or rent a car. If you want to experience some of the magic and uniqueness of Whitter, there are condos, Bed and Breakfasts, and several small restaurants to enjoy. Then there are those who come from Anchorage to enjoy Prince William Sound at Whittier, before taking a cruise south. Coming or going from Anchorage necessitates driving through the 2.5 mile tunnel which goes through the mountain. It is the longest tunnel in North America.
In addition to the Cruise Ships that use the port, there are pleasure boats and fishing boats that each offer a different view of this amazing town. There are also a few limited small fishing boats for charter, if it is your desire to spend your time out on the sound fishing.
Even the children are protected from the severe weather and the heavy snow fall. There is a tunnel that leads directly to their school rooms from the main building. How is that for walking to school? With an average snow on the ground of 33 inches from December to April, this is a very real blessing to the children. The tunnel keeps them warm and safe during the worst of the winter weather. These harsh winter days often include brutal winds of 60 miles an hour or more. Yes, the tunnel is a blessing to the children of Whittier, Alaska.
One big question that comes to mind, is where do the visitors stay? There are no worries here, as the top two stories of Begich Towers, have an amazing bed and breakfast. These must be the prettiest condos in this unique and tiny village. There are also some small restaurants to meet all your needs. These are so inviting that you may forget that they are not in Anchorage. Life is an adventure and it all begins in Whittier, Alaska.
Two major campgrounds that are filled with awesome views and trails is Black Bear and Williwaw. The term “Williwaw” means “big wind.” Black Bear campground is undeveloped, but is an awesome stop for climbers and hikers who are hiking the trails. It is small, and great for car camping or tents. Williwaw is a little larger and can accommodate RV’s and trailers, as well as tents. While Black bear Campground has all the beautiful tall trees, Williwaw has the shorter but bushier trees that lead to more private campsites. Because there is less of the tall trees blocking the view in Williwaw, you will find there are many views of the beautiful Middle Glacier. There is a paved and wheelchair friendly trail called Blue Ice, that links both campgrounds with the visitors Center. Both Black Bear Campground and Williwaw Campground are excellent base camps for exploring the Chugach National Forest, with it’s many trails throughout a vast wilderness. If you are looking for breathtaking vistas of the glaciers, well groomed and even wheelchair friendly trails, then these remote wilderness campgrounds are loaded with adventure especially for you. So let’s get out and discover the thrills of the Chugach National Forest!
One of the newest major attractions in the Chugach National Forest is the “Glacier Discovery Train’s Whistle Stop Service.” You can begin your adventure in Anchorage and travel to Grandview. You will be making stops in the towns of Girdwood, Portage, Whittier, and Spencer and Portage Glaciers. What a great adventure to add to any cruise up the Inside Passage of Alaska. On the Glacier Discovery Train’s Whistle Stop Service, you will experience parts of the Chugach National Forest that few have ever discovered.
Be sure to visit the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center when near Black Bear Campground and Williwaw Campground. At the visitors center you will be able to discover all the amazing benefits this forest has to offer. Gather the history and culture behind how these trees, shrubs, bushes and berries were used by the native peoples for hundreds of years. Learn about the wildlife that calls the forest home, and enjoy unlocking the amazing secrets of America’s second largest national forest.
During the summer months, there is a fireside program presented by an interpreter of the forest service. These are held on Fridays and Saturday nights at the Williwaw Campground. Come learn about the cultural heritage of the area, and explore the fascinating lives of the salmon that live in the waters of the park. Delve into the habits of the different bears that coexist in the national park. These presentations are free of charge and family friendly.
On Friday, Saturday, and Sundays there are guided hikes down the Bryon Glacier Trail. The trail is easy walking, well kept up, and suitable for all ages. This hike leaves from the Bryon Glacier Trail-head at 2 PM. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about the glacier and it’s history, as well as the park that surrounds the many glaciers.
Alaska is home to an amazing population of Bald Eagles. These tall trees provide the perfect spot for Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons to roost. It’s tasty green foliage are food for the elk, bears, hares, deer, and rabbits. This beautiful tree can be found on the coast from California all the way to Alaska. The Sitka Spruce is just another piece of our special American heritage.
The Sitka Spruce is also another piece in the economy of Alaska, as many things are made from her wood. Some of the worlds best sounding boards are made from this beautiful tree and can be found in the piano, guitar, and other musical instruments. Perhaps the next time you go to a concert you will be listening to an instrument with a sounding board made from her beautiful wood. So relax and enjoy yet another piece of the history of the beautiful Chugach National Forest in Alaska.
If you are looking to enjoy the natural beauty of Alaska, then Whittier, Alaska is a perfect starting place. A Whittier adventure will include some of the most spectacular glaciers and the Chugach National Forest is full of surprises. Accommodations are available and you will find them unique and high quality. So why not make this the year that you take a cruise up the Inside Passage, with a side trip to Whittier, Alaska?