Located at the head of Orca Inlet on Prince William Sound, the City of Cordova is surrounded by glacier-carved mountains, rich wetlands, green forests, and many waterways. The natural beauty of the Port of Cordova offers many opportunities for hiking, skiing, boating, sport fishing, flight-seeing, and wildlife photography. Local guides are available, but visitors can explore the area on their own if they have knowledge about bear etiquette. The harbor is a natural aquarium, with orca whales, sea lions, sea otters, salmon sharks, seals, salmon, and many majestic eagles. The area is home to many brown and black bears. Touring by canoe and kayak is very popular in the Port of Cordova.
The Port of Cordova area has many wild and beautiful scenic trails for beginners and experienced backpackers. Old logging roads in the area offer up-close views of moose, eagles, bears, and a variety of wildlife natural to these northern climes. The area is popular with mountain bikers, fishermen, and rafters as well.
From the Port of Cordova by boat, plane, or helicopter, visitors can surf at the northernmost point on the Pacific Ocean. The long beaches around the Port of Cordova are rich with sand dollars and beach-combing treasures brought from all over the world by the Japanese currents. Wilderness lovers will find the Port of Cordova a center for wilderness camps.
The Port of Cordova is within driving distance of five major glaciers offering wonderful adventures for visitors with a guide or on self-guided tours. All the necessary equipment is available for rent in the Port of Cordova.
The Copper River Delta near the Port of Cordova is a rich and abundant wetlands, forming the second biggest contiguous wetlands network on North America's Pacific Coast. Covering almost two square kilometers, the Delta has many shallow ponds, inter-tidal sloughs, and glacial streams woven together by mudflats, sedge marshes, willow thickets, and small spruce and cottonwood forest stands. Millions of shorebirds from as far away as Central and South America stop here during their spring migrations. The pristine Prince William Sound waters support an amazing array of marine life as well, including Stellar's sea lions, sea otters, porpoises, harbor seals, and killer whales.
The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is the United States' largest national park. Less than 100 kilometers from the Port of Cordova, it is open all year. The park contains glaciers and peaks that reach above 5.5 thousand meters, including the second highest peak in the U.S., Mount St. Elias. The park offers rugged undeveloped land for adventurous explorers who want solitude and natural challenges. There are few maintained trails in the park, so maps and compasses are necessary tools. Weather can vary between extremes and change very quickly, so visitors should prepare for almost anything with layered clothing, reliable rain gear, and extra food. Summer snow storms are not uncommon.
There are 13 public-use cabins within the park, many of them restored mining, trapping, or hunting cabins in remote locations. Some of these cabins are accessible only by air. Mt. Wrangell is active, and steam plumes are often seen on clear cold days. Fishermen and hunters will find the park to be a virtual paradise. In the mountains, visitors will find moose, bears, mountain goats, caribou, lynx, wolverines, beavers, porcupines, foxes, wolves, river otters, and even some transplanted bison. At the coast, visitors will find sea lions, harbor seals, and sea otters, and they can view porpoises and whales. For those willing to stay up until 2 am, the Northern Lights can be viewed as long as it is dark.
Just over two kilometers from the old mining town of Kennicott, visitors can find the Root Glacier Trail that goes right onto the glacier. While no one is sure how many glaciers there are in the park, scientists think that more than 60% of all glacial ice in Alaska is within the Wrangell-St. Elias park. The park is also a wonderful place to enjoy winter sports like snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. While driving in the park, it is very important to take survival gear, as temperatures can dive to -45 °C (-50 °F).