2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – February 1999

Alaska's Glaciers: Going With The Floes

When gently paddling amidst the mini-icebergs that grace Prince William Sound, you ponder one question: why walk?

by: Michele Morris

Expedition Planner

Kayaking Prince William Sound

Getting There: Whittier is the jumping-off point for all western Prince William Sound routes. Currently, the best way to get to the town is by the Alaska Railroad (907-265-2494). Round-trip fare is $49 per person. A controversial new road from Anchorage to Whittier is scheduled to be completed by 2000.

Permits: None are required for kayaking the Sound, but reservations, taken up to 180 days in advance, are required for Forest Service cabins in PWS and other Alaskan sea kayaking destinations. Cabins cost $25 to $45 per night and they go fast. Call toll-free (877) 444-6777, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Alaska time Labor Day through March 31; 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 1 through Labor Day. Or reserve via the Internet:

Maps: Trails Illustrated's Prince William Sound West #761 ($8.99; 800-962-1643) provides a good trip planning overview and cabin locations, but you'll need USGS 7.5-minute maps for navigating. The Anchorage A-4 and Seward D-4 and D-5 quads cover our route.

Season: You'll avoid rain as well as bugs from mid-May to early June.

Special Equipment: The Forest Service (see "Contact," below) can recommend local outfitters. We used the following: Kayak shuttle service: Gerry Sanger of Sound Eco Adventures; (888) 471-2312 or (907) 472-2312. A drop-off to Harriman Glacier cost us $441 for two double and two single kayaks and six people. Kayak rentals: Prince William Sound Kayak Center: (907) 276-7235. A double kayak rents for $275/week, a single is $190/week.

Special hazards: Carry extra food, rescue flares, and bear spray, and allow at least one extra day in case you're stranded by bad weather. Consider taking a marine radio. Camp and kayak at least a quarter mile away from any glacier, and give large floating icebergs a wide berth-they are highly unstable and can spin at any moment and capsize your boat.

Contact: Glacier Ranger District, Chugach National Forest, P.O. Box 129, Girdwood, AK 99587; (907) 783-3242.

-M. Morris

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

I am in so much trouble
Posted On: Aug 22, 2014
Submitted By: hikerjer
The Political Arena
At what age did you come back....
Posted On: Aug 22, 2014
Submitted By: hikerjer
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions