COVID-19 Visitor Information
We’ve been preparing for your visit!
The health of our residents and visitors is our top priority as we reopen safely and responsibly, and our community is taking all necessary precautions to ensure you have a safe and fun experience. Whether you came to explore our well-manicured trails winding through pristine and intact ecosystems, experience our vibrant local culture, contribute to our local economy, or you consider Cordova a home in your heart; we hope you will enjoy all that makes this place so special while maintaining these basic clean and careful practices:
We’d like to invite everyone visiting or returning to Cordova to:
Before arrival, travelers from out of state should familiarize themselves with the State of Alaska’s requirement for pre-arrival testing (see alaska.gov/travelers). Cordova’s Medical Response Team is encouraging ALL TRAVELERS (not just those arriving from out-of-state) to follow these guidelines. We ask that you limit your initial interactions in town for your first few days or until test results come back. Visit covid19.cityofcordova.net or cordovachamber.com for more info.
- If you have been exposed recently to the virus or have any symptoms of COVID-19, please remember that health mandates prohibit you from entering local establishments.
If you have underlying health conditions or are otherwise concerned about contracting COVID-19, please take the necessary precautions including taking advantage of local curbside pickup and delivery options (view a full list at bit.ly/covidbizlist) and practicing frequent hand washing and use of PPE.
- Familiarize yourself with Cordova’s local face-covering rule (cityofcordova.net) and make sure you have one with you anytime you’re out and about.
We are so lucky in Cordova to have many wide-open spaces to enjoy. We hope you will take advantage of some of our amazing outdoor adventure options. While you’re in town, please enjoy our local businesses while adhering to social distancing and face-covering guidelines.
For your own safety and that of our community, we appreciate your adherence to all current State of Alaska and CDC health guidelines. We are doing our part to safely reopen Alaska, and with your help, we can remain open and prospering. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions! You can find all kinds of info on Cordova’s COVID Dashboard at covid19.cityofcordova.net. There is also a COVID Information line at 907-424-INFO or an Automated Cordova COVID Update line at 907-424-WELL.
Protocols of Travel
Cordova is off the beaten track, and can be reached either via air or ferry. Click the buttons below to view travel protocols, advisories, and announcements related to COVID-19 from Alaska Airlines and the Alaska Marine Highway System.
Welcome to Cordova
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No. There is no road to drive into Cordova from out of town. There are plenty of opportunities to see the sights from your vehicle once here on our scenic Copper River Highway. You can bring your car on the ferry with you. Contact: Alaska Marine Highway (http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/), 800-642-0066. The Alaska state ferries MV Aurora and others serve Cordova, Whittier and Valdez. Due to State budgeting and COVID-19 impacts, the AMHS did not sail year-round into Cordova this year, but is scheduled to be in service starting July 3, 2020.
You can also fly to Cordova year-around from Anchorage or Juneau with Alaska Airlines (www.alaskaair.com).
First, check out our Outdoor Adventure page. You can also ask: US Forest Service – Cordova District Ranger Office, PO Box 280, Cordova, AK 99574, 907-424-7661, http://www.fs.usda.gov/chugach/. Maps are available at the Forest Service office on 2nd Street and at the Chamber Visitor Center on First Street. Contact Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Cordova for this year’s hunting and fishing regulations and to get a license. (907) 424-3212, 401 Railroad Ave, Cordova, AK 99574.
Yes, see the Outfitter section of our directory or call us for more info. 907-424-7260. If you locate your own local guide, here are a few questions to ask them:
- How long have you been guiding in Alaska?
- Is transportation from Cordova to the use area included?
- Are meals provided? Are snacks and water also available? Is there any time when meals are not provided and I need to pack my own food?
- Is the guide certified in first aid? Does the guide carry a gun or bear spray?
- Is the vessel equipped with current life jackets for each passenger? A satellite phone?
- Does the pilot or captain have a license and permit to guide on the lands you are visiting?
- Does the pilot carry a personal beacon and emergency provisions on board?
Cordova rests in a temperate rainforest. The average annual precipitation is 167 inches and the average annual snowfall is 80 inches. Winter temperatures average 20 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer, temperatures can range between the 60’s and 80’s Fahrenheit. It’s best to bring a variety of layers and be prepared for all types of weather when visiting Cordova.
Here in Cordova, restaurants proudly serve wild-caught Copper River salmon and other seafood from Alaska as well as traditional and a variety of ethnic food. Visit the Restaurants and Caterers section in our Business Directory for a full listing of great places to eat or download our Dining Guide here.
If you’d like to know more about the subsistence lifestyle of Cordova, visit our blog: Local Flavors.
The warmest and driest weather is usually in June and July, but there is fun to be had all year long. There’s Iceworm Festival in the winter, Shorebird Festival in the Spring, Salmon Jam in the summer and Fungus Festival in the fall as well as lots of other events. Check out our Events Calendar for a full list!
The most popular time of year to visit Cordova is the summer and early fall (June-September). Learn more about all the fun things to do in Cordova on our Play page.
In our free time, Cordovans enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, trapping, fishing, and camping. They also look forward to festivals each year, such as the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival, our Old Time Downtown 4th of July Celebration, the Cordova Iceworm Festival, Copper River Salmon Jam, the Cordova Fungus Festival, Native Village of Eyak Sobriety Celebration, and our annual Hometown Holiday Kick-off.
In the winter Cordova is famous for her potlucks, and we have many talented amateur chefs who love to cook with wild-harvested food from right here in Cordova and Prince William Sound. Cordova also has a very active art community and its local art council, Cordova Arts and Pageants brings in artists and performers all year long, mostly performing in the new North Star Theater in the Cordova Center. There’s lots more to do too. Download the 101 things to Do in Cordova brochure here.
Check out the Lodging section of our directory for a full list of Chamber lodging members. Here are a few questions to ask before you book:
- Are you within walking distance to downtown? Do you offer a shuttle?
- What is the room layout? How many beds, how many baths, how many rooms?
- Are you located near any outdoor recreation opportunities I don’t want to miss?
- (If applicable) Is your lodging child/pet friendly?
- (If applicable) Is my room and bathroom handicap accessible?
- How do I contact management if there is a problem with my lodging once I arrive?
- What amenities do you provide that I may not have heard about?
Since the weather in Cordova and Prince William Sound can change quickly, you will want to layer clothing or bring layers even on warm and sunny days. Fleece or wool layers are great because they still keep you warm even if they get wet. Windbreakers, light jackets, rain gear, and waterproof boots are essentials when packing for your trip.
Day pack: Plan to carry a small backpack on your adventures with water, snacks like a power bar, a basic first aid kit, and waterproof matches. Bear spray and a personal beacon can be small items that make a big difference.
Moose, sea otters, seals, black and brown bears, and birds of all kinds are common sightings. Certain times of the year you can also see spawning salmon. In certain areas of the delta, you might also be able to catch a glimpse of wolves, coyotes, wolverines and other wildlife.
Cordova is surrounded on all sides by a beautiful wilderness. Please be mindful and respectful of its spectacular wildlife by educating yourself in proper wilderness etiquette and safety. Pack out everything you packed in and practice Leave No Trace. Always observe wildlife from a distance, and never attempt to feed or entice bears or other wild animals with food. Moose and bears with young can be especially aggressive. Control any pets you bring along with you, keep your distance, and never get between a mother and her young. For more info contact Alaska Department of Fish & Game in Cordova.
Carrying a day pack with a basic first aid kit and bear spray or something for self-defense is a good idea when hiking and adventuring in Cordova’s wilderness. An extra layer or change of clothes can also be helpful as many areas can be very wet and the weather can change suddenly. Check with the US Forest Service for current conditions before leaving. Before leaving your lodging, always make sure to tell someone where you are going or leave a trip plan noting the time of your departure and when you plan on returning. Even a simple flat tire can be made a whole lot easier by following these tips!
While Cordova is open to visitors, things are not quite back to business-as-usual yet. There are rules and guidance that visitors must follow from the State of Alaska regarding testing, quarantine, and social distancing. Familiarize yourself with all that info at covid19.alaska.gov. There are also local rules within the community of Cordova. Learn more about those at covid19.cityofcordova.net.
To see the status of a certain business or business type in Cordova (whether it is open, closed, requiring reservations, offering pick-up or delivery, etc.), check out our Cordova CovidBizList at bit.ly/covidbizlist
For more info on COVID-19 resources for Cordova businesses and residents, visit our COVID-19 Resources page.
Facial Coverings in Cordova
Here is a summary of Cordova’s Emergency Order Rule 15 on Facial Coverings:
Except as otherwise provided in this rule, all individuals in Cordova must wear a mask, bandanna or other type of protective covering over their nose and mouth when social distancing from another individual of at least six feet is not possible.
Individuals under the age of four, individuals with trouble breathing, and individuals with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a facial covering are exempt from this rule.
Facial coverings need not be worn in the following circumstances:
1. An individual is alone or within six feet of only members of his or her household
2. An individual is eating or drinking in compliance with State of Alaska public health mandates
3. An individual is receiving lawful services that cannot be adequately performed while the service provider or the recipient is wearing a mask.
Spend a long weekend with us
Your 4-Day Itinerary
The 4-Day Weekend
Plan to take the ferry from Whittier to Cordova, which is a short, scenic drive from Anchorage or Seward. Bring your camera, your binoculars, your hiking boots, rain gear and sunglasses. Dress in layers to prepare for both sun and rain. As soon as you board the ferry, your adventure has begun with a cruise across picturesque Prince William Sound.
Upon arriving to Cordova, you may want to check in to your lodging, grab a quick bite to eat and take in the view of Cordova from the water by way of the Breakwater Boardwalk in the bustling Cordova Harbor. Here you’re likely to see eagles, ravens, sea otters and fishing boats getting ready for the next fishing opener.
With the long sunlit days you can easily fit a nice hike up to Mid-Way or Top Station on Ski Hill in the early morning before breakfast and afterwards visit the shops on First Street and around town. Remember to send a few postcards to friends and family back in the city! You can pick up souvenirs and handmade artisan products at nearly every local retailer; the Cordova Museum and the Native Village of Eyak’s Ilanka Cultural Center carries these products along with a beautiful array of information and exhibits highlighting local history and culture.
Before you head out on a longer hike such as Heney Ridge Trail at the end of Whitshed Road or Crater Lake on Power Creek Road; be sure to pack a lunch, a water bottle and of course your camera. You’ll experience one breathtaking vista after another.
With all the hiking you’ve done and spectacular views you’ve seen an evening on the patio at local eatery is likely in order! The Reluctant Fisherman, Baja Taco, The Powder House, Fork & Spoon and Homegrown all offer outdoor seating to compliment their delicious dishes. If you’ve brought your bike with you or choose to rent one in town, you still have time to take a leisurely ride out to Fleming Spit (or “Hippie Cove” as it’s called by the locals) to watch a late sunset, salmon jumping, more eagles, ravens, otters, seals and maybe even a coyote!
On your last full day in Cordova, plan to head “Out the Road”. Pack a lunch and snacks and plenty of water or pick something up ready-made at the grocery store’s deli counter. Your first stop along the Copper River Highway, a designated Alaska Scenic Byway, could be the USFS viewing station at 9 mile. It’s a great introduction to the Copper River Delta situated across from a wide-open pond with resident beavers and swans and even a muskrat or two.
From here you can head farther out the road to mile 14 and to Sheridan Glacier for a picnic breakfast. There are a handful of picnic tables, the trailhead for Sheridan Mountain Trail and the easement trail across The Eyak Corporation lands to Sheridan Glacier. A short 15-minute walk and you’ll find yourself on a glacial moraine.
After your visit with Sheridan, your next stop on the Delta should be Alaganik Slough at 17 mile. Your commitment to the dusty gravel road can be rewarded by an afternoon in this favorite spot. You might see moose grazing on the green growth that covers the area, minks fishing in their favorite spots along the slough and wetlands covered in wild flowers in the spring. Take a leisurely walk along the boardwalk with interpretive signs that end at a magnificent vista.
To wrap up your day, you can drive the remaining 20 miles of highway to the end of the road at mile 36.5 where the mighty Copper River has reclaimed the area where a bridge once allowed passage further on to the Million Dollar Bridge. The views are well worth the drive there and back with plenty of places to pull off the road to take a picture, take in the view and breathe the fresh air.
You get to conclude your visit to Cordova with another cruise across Prince William Sound to see more Orca whales, more seals, more salmon jumping and more fishing families out on the water making a living.
You’ve got a few ideas now on how to fill up two great days in Cordova planning for two scenic on-water ferry travel days. Give us a call or send us an email if you have any questions. We believe you’ll love Cordova, Alaska’s Hidden Treasure.