This is the star glacial attraction in Prince William Sound – a large sea inlet named by British colonizers after a young English prince in the eighteenth century. The Columbia is a large tidewater glacier that flows directly into the sea, spilling forth from the Chugach Mountains. It ends with a face as high as a football field.
Is the Columbia Glacier retreating?
It is one of the most rapidly changing glaciers in the world and, unfortunately, it is retreating at speed like many ice floes in Alaska. The face of the glacier has retreated more than 12 miles since 1980 and lost a lot of its volume and thickness. This continued movement contributes to the rise of sea levels through the calving of icebergs from the Columbia Glacier.
The voyage to see the Columbia is a popular day trip out of Valdez, either in a boat or on a kayaking excursion.