Anderson Falls, Alaska

Anderson Falls (31)

Anderson Falls in August 2014

I was searching through photos from travels in past Augusts, and was reminded of a number of waterfalls I saw on a visit to Alaska. I’m always a bit surprised at how difficult it can be to find information about waterfalls in Alaska. There are some waterfalls that are very commonly advertised, but there are other impressive falls that are less so.

If you search for Anderson Falls, you’ll find a few hits, but sparse information. And yet Anderson Fall is one of the tallest (easily visited?) waterfalls in the state. Based on the terrain, there are many more that are just too inaccessible to visit. And in terms of “easily visited”, it does require a boat ride. Luckily, there are a number of fjord and glacier cruise tours that leave from Valdez and will pass right by this waterfall.

From my guesstimate, it seems that the falls are at least 600′ tall, possibly more. There are two portions to the falls, the top plunge drop, followed by the lower cascades. The falls continue even more as they meet the shoreline. It’s a really impressive sight, and one that I wasn’t particularly expecting!

Directions:

  1. In this case, the most “difficult” part is getting to Valdez. I flew into Anchorage, and it was 5 hour drive to Valdez. (There are flights on prop jets into Valdez.)
  2. After arriving and seeing some of the other waterfalls in Valdez, I hopped on one of the boat cruises (Lu-Lu Belle or Stan Stephens, I don’t remember which), and took the cruise to see the falls, glaciers, and wildlife! It’s definitely worth it!

Accessibility: 10/10 (Easy)
Height: 600′ +
Length of Hike: Not applicable

Where in the World is Anderson Falls?

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Keystone Canyon Falls, Alaska

keystone

Keystone Canyon Falls in August 2014

Keystone Canyon is one of those places that is hard to describe. On the way in to Valdez, I had been driving for about an hour and a half. (It’s about 5 hours from Anchorage via road.) Even if I had been driving for longer, I think I would still have had my breath taken away as I entered Keystone Canyon. It was drizzling a bit, giving the canyon a special atmosphere. The road winds through the canyon, at times crossing over the Lowe River. Cliffs climb above you on both sides of the road.

And then the waterfalls start appearing. Bridal Veil and Horsetail Falls are the two named waterfalls. As I’m driving along, though, I see another waterfall. I don’t know if this one has a designated name, and I wasn’t sure what the name of the creek was, therefore it’s Keystone Canyon Falls to me.

The mountains above the gorge climb about 5500′ feet in the matter of about 4 miles. So while you’re probably seeing about 100′ of waterfall in this picture, there’s likely more waterfall hidden above.

I often mention whether you should go out of your way to see a waterfall…In this case, it’s taken to extremes. I was headed to Valdez to go on a day-long glacier/wildlife cruise. As I mentioned, the drive from Anchorage to Valdez is about five hours, and there are long stretches of beautiful nothingness. You could fly, but then you’ll miss these waterfalls. On the way, you’ll get some great views of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, and a “short” detour from the road to Valdez will lead to Liberty Falls. In addition to Bridal Veil Falls and Horsetail Falls, there’s also Crooked Creek Falls in Valdez. With all of the additional beautiful, it’s a good reason to drive, but you’ve got to set time aside just for this.

Directions:

  1. There isn’t any other way to enter Valdez via road than on Alaska Route 4. From Anchorage, you’d follow AK-1 for a really long time to the junction of AK-4.
  2. Turn right and head south on AK-4, and then after an hour or so, you’ll enter Keystone Canyon. It’s clearly signed. It’s hard to miss the different waterfalls.

Accessibility: 10/10
Length of Hike: roadside
Height: ~100′ (could be more or less, not the greatest judge of height)

Where in the World is Keystone Canyon Falls?