Worthington Glacier State Recreation Site

Alaska Guide

Popular For:Glacier viewing, walking trail (ADA accessible) – nearby hiking and rock climbing
Walking Distance:Approximately 0.4-miles (paved)
Cost:$5 Day Use Fee (see note*)
Amenities:Picnic shelter, picnic sites, restrooms
Location:Mile 28.7 Richardson Highway

The Worthington Glacier State Recreation Site is located at mile 28.7 of the Richardson Highway (about a 30-40 minute drive from Valdez). It offers a paved path to a nearby overlook of the Worthington Glacier at Thompson Pass in the Chugach Mountains. The short walk to the overlook is ADA accessible. There are picnic areas and shelter, definitely an excellent place for a lunch break! Just make sure to pack out your own trash to help the Valdez Adventure Alliance that pays to maintain the area.

The Worthington Glacier from the Worthington Glacier State Recreation Site.
View of the Worthington Glacier near the overlook

Anyone driving through this part of the Richardson Highway should plan on making the stop. It’s only a minute walk to the overlook from the parking area. There is plenty of hiking (although very difficult) and rock climbing in the area as well (guide forthcoming).

A large moulin on the Worthington Glacier in the Chugach Mountains
View of the surrounding Chugach Mountains from the Worthington Glacier

You can hike beyond the trail to get a closer look at the glacier, although you need to exercise extreme caution doing so. There are steep and slick rocks, loose talus with potential for landslides, and very dangerous swift water. Approaching to close to the ice can be very dangerous, as there are frequently rocks falling from the top. In 2018 a 5-year-old boy was killed after being struck by a falling rock near the glacier. The hike can be done safely but it is necessary to stay aware of your surroundings! It’s best to stay away from the valley walls and the ice face.

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Looking up at the Worthington Glacier through a narrow, rocky canyon with lots of swift-water

*Day Use Fee – I think a lot of folks don’t notice or care that there is a $5 fee. Please understand that, while this is a State Park, it receives no state funding or support. It is operated entirely by the Valdez Adventure Alliance. They keep the trail maintained, make sure the garbage is hauled out, and that the restrooms are clean and stocked with toilet paper. Do a little to help them out, pay the fee, and pack out your own trash!

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