Looking up in Prince William Sound, you’re staring at the densest concentration of tidewater glaciers in the world. Many of them drop steeply as cliffs of ice from the mountains that tower above the coast. Coasting through the calm waters of the sound, it is not uncommon to see cascading waterfalls, as well as a variety of wildlife, including eagles, deer, bears, sea otters, and even whales. The sound is surrounded by the greenery and trees of the Chugach National Forest, which is the second largest in the United States.
Explorer James Cook first discovered the sound in 1778, promptly naming it Sandwich Sound after the Earl of Sandwich. His map’s editors, however, later changed the name to honor Prince William Henry of England. Today it remains one of Alaska’s most scenic places, and the coastline’s dramatic fjords must be seen from the water. Keep an eye out also for its many islands as you cruise along the waterways.
Prince William Sound is located on the Gulf of Alaska along the southern coast. It is about an hour’s drive from Anchorage, or alternatively, take the train to Whittier.