5 Secret Places in Cordova, Alaska

Cordova is so off the beaten path that it's accessible only by sea or air.

fishing boats in a harbor ringed by snowy mountains
Cordova's boat harbor is backed by majestic mountains.
Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH / Shutterstock

This fishing village east of Anchorage welcomes wildlife photographers, anglers, and adventure seekers to the edge of Prince William Sound. Framed by snowcapped peaks, the town is accessible only by sea or air—one reason it maintains its relaxed charm.

  1. The Cordova Historical Museum is packed with memorabilia of the area’s past as Eyak and Chugach territory, shipping port for the Kennecott Copper Mine, and commercial seafood capital. Relics of the magnitude 9.2 earthquake in 1964 are a highlight. 
  2. Take a three-hour guided boat ride to the Orca Inlet to witness the largest concentration of sea otters in the world with the Orca Adventure Lodge.
  3. Honoring the Eyak, Alutiiq, Ahtna, and Tlingit people through tribal art and artifacts, the Ilanka Cultural Center also houses a fully articulated Orca whale skeleton—one of only five in the world.
  4. Spectacular hikes in the Chugach National Forest include the level, three-mile Saddlebag Glacier Trail, which winds through Sitka spruces and cottonwoods to views of the glacier and resident mountain goats.
  5. Hook a halibut from your window aboard a floating fishing cabin. The Alaskan Wilderness Outfitting Company provides boat, gear, bait, and tips on catching halibut, salmon, lingcod, and trout, plus floatplane rides, food, and ice.

This article was first published in July 2015 and updated in March 2019.