Area: 61.4 square miles
Population: 2,454 (2000 census)
Cordova is a small, coastal town surrounded by glacier-carved mountains, nestled at the head of Orca Inlet in Eastern Prince William Sound. The area is rich with wildlife, wetlands, lush forests, and countless waterways. The myriad of activities such as hiking, wildlife photography, boating, sportfishing, flight-seeing makes Cordova an ultimate destination. Cordova's summer temperatures range between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In the mild winters the temperature seldom drops to zero. The average rainfall is approximately 180 inches annually. Cordova has a year round population of about 2,800. This number increases to over 5,000 as the commercial fishing fleet arrives to begin the salmon season (May through September). Cordova is an authentic fishing community with commercial fishing being the mainstay of the local economy.The many cultures living in the Cordova area add to the global flavor of the town.
Things to Do
Cordova Historical Museum at the south end of First Street, the museum is open daily. Cultural heritage of the Chugach, Eyak and Tlingit peoples are highlighted at the museum. Learn about the fishing and railroad history of Cordova's past.
Fifty miles from Cordova through the Copper River Delta, see the Million Dollar Bridge, calving Child's Glacier, outstanding scenery and abundant wildlife.
More than 40 miles of U.S. Forest Service trails lead to popular nearby destinations. Alpine meadows, coastal habitat and glaciers await. You can also climb one of the newest trails which leads to Mt. Eyak and joins the popular Crater Lake trail.
Iceworm Festival, anti-cabin fever event occurs the first full weekend of February. It is the only known celebration of the glacial iceworm in the Parade, food fair, historical displays, variety shows, craft show and more! The festival occurs February.
Then as the days get longer and the waterfowl return to a warming Alaska, Cordovans and visitors alike celebrate the Shorebird Festival in May.
Cordova has a rich and varied history. The descendants of the first inhabitants of the Cordova area, the Eyak and Chugach, keep their legacy alive through traditional arts and crafts. The influence of the Copper ore era of the early 1900's , which brought in the railroad, can still be felt as you drive across the Million Dollar Bridge past the Child's Glacier. Commercial fishing has been the mainstay of the Cordova economy, dating back to the 1800's. Today, visitors can watch as modern day fishers gear up for the seasonal salmon fishery.
Cordova grew and prospered as the early-day tidewater terminus of the 194-mile Copper River and Northwest Railway. Immortalized in The Iron Trail by Rex Beach, the historic railway was built in 1908 to transport copper ore to tidewater. By 1925, the Kennicott Copper Company had extracted $175 million dollars worth of copper from the district. By 1938, however, the ore supply had diminished, the price of copper dropped and the mines and railway closed down.