USCG MSU Valdez
105 Clifton Drive, Valdez, AK 99686
In Valdez, the summers are cool and overcast; the winters are long, freezing, windy, and mostly cloudy; and it is wet year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 20°F to 63°F and is rarely below 3°F or above 71°F.
The warm season lasts for 3.6 months, from May 22 to September 10, with an average daily high temperature above 56°F. The hottest day of the year is July 7, with an average high of 63°F and low of 49°F.
The cold season lasts for 4.0 months, from November 9 to March 10, with an average daily high temperature below 35°F. The coldest day of the year is January 18, with an average low of 20°F and high of 28°F.
The wetter season lasts 5.9 months, from August 4 to February 2, with a greater than 50% chance of a given day being a wet day. The chance of a wet day peaks at 63% on September 27.
The drier season lasts 6.1 months, from February 2 to August 4. The smallest chance of a wet day is 37% on May 9.
Cost of Living
In Valdez, AK, the overall cost of living index is 116, which is 10% lower than the Alaska average and 16% higher than the U.S. average. The following categories are used to calculate the overall cost of living index: goods/services (33%), housing (30%), groceries (13%), utilities (10%), transportation (9%) and health care (5%). From the list, it is clear that the categories of goods/services and housing are responsible for the largest portions of the overall cost of living index. As a general rule, everyday goods and services provide an accurate measure of the general cost of goods in any given city. In the case of Valdez, AK, the city’s goods and services are 3% higher than the Alaska average and 23% higher than the U.S. average.
Getting to Know the Area
The city of Valdez, Alaska, is so small one can walk from end to end in about 15 minutes. With the backdrop of the majestic Chugach Mountains, Valdez is touted the snowiest city in America by NOAA and The Weather Channel – averaging 30 feet of snow each year.
The city is linked to Anchorage more than 300 miles away by the Richardson Highway. With a population of just over 4,000 people, the town is rife with history from a booming gold rush, the famous 1964 earthquake and tsunami, avalanches and a major oil spill.
The heart of Valdez, like so many other coastal towns in Alaska, is its small boat harbor clustered along its waterfront. From there, the town stretches about a dozen walkable blocks back toward the mountains and Mineral Creek Canyon while nearby Egan Drive, Valdez’s equivalent to Main Street, turns into the Richardson Highway and heads north for Thompson Pass. Scattered through the downtown area is a wide range of restaurants, accommodations, museums and Prince William Sound Community College.
Visible across the inlet from town is the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline Terminal with its massive storage tanks each holding nine million barrels of oil.
Within a few blocks of the downtown area, Mineral Creek Trail heads to mining ruins in the mountains and Shoup Bay Trail skirts Port Valdez to views of glaciers.
Kayaks can be rented in town and drop-off services can be arranged for overnight paddles in calm inlets and fjords nearby. Anglers arrange charter fishing trips in the Small Boat Harbor while others book tour boat cruises to see Meares Glacier and Columbia Glacier, the second-largest tidewater glacier in North America with a face as high as a football field.
Thanks to those steep coastal mountains, daredevil enthusiasts can go whitewater rafting on the Lowe River through the impressive Keystone Canyon in the summer, heli-skiing and ice climbing in the winter.