Two trails climb Mt. Eyak—one through the forest, the other up the ski slope. The unmarked Tripod Trail is a little hard to find, but if you cut to the right between a cabin and a driveway near the end of 5th Street, you’ll see the trailhead. This is a pretty hike through forest primeval, with salmonberries ripe for the picking in August. Otherwise, head straight up Council Avenue, bear left onto 6th Street, and follow it around the communications apparatus. You can start right up the mountain from there, and you don’t have to go far to get a great view of the town and harbor.
The excellent Crater Lake Trail begins opposite Skaters Cabin on Eyak Lake, two miles from town beyond the old cemetery, the seaplane base, and the municipal airstrip. The trail climbs 1,500 feet in two miles through a beautiful forest, with panoramic views near the top of Eyak Lake and the Heney Range. The terrain around Crater Lake is fairly open, and it would be easy to scale the surrounding summits if you have the time and energy. Allow a minimum of two hours round-trip from the road to the lake. The trail is solid and very easy to follow; even if a wet wind is blowing, it will be relatively still in the forest, but be careful not to slip. Don’t miss this one.
At the end of Power Creek Road, six miles from town, a trail leads about a mile up to Ohman Falls—and when you see it you’ll definitely say, “Oh, man!” Continue another three miles on Power Creek Trail to the Power Creek Cabin.
Ten Forest Service cabins are available for rent (518/885-3639 or 877/444-6777, www.recreation.gov , $35) in the Cordova area; all but three are accessible only by plane or boat. There are cabins at both ends of the McKinley Lake Trail. If you’ve never seen one, hike for 75 yards up the McKinley Lake Trail (Mile 20) and peer in the windows. Staying here is quiet (except for the spawning salmon), secluded, and beautiful. The other foot-accessible cabin (Power Creek Cabin) is four miles north of Cordova via the Power Creek Trail.
Alaska River Expeditions (907/424-7238 or 800/776-1864, www.alaskarafters.com ) guides fun half-day adventures, including hiking and rafting trips on the Sheridan River ($95), Sheridan Glacier trekking ($95), and ice-climbing classes ($125). Multiday trips go all the way up to 10-day raft trips ($2,500) from headwaters of the Copper River to the Million Dollar Bridge . These are good folks.
The MV Auklet (907/424-3428, www.auklet.com ) is a classic wooden boat that has been used as a fisheries research vessel. Captain Dave Janka leads overnight or multiple-night adventure cruises around Prince William Sound .
Cordova Coastal Outfitters (907/424-7424 or 800/357-5145, www.cdvcoastal.com ) is a one-stop operation with sea kayak day trips and overnight tours, wildlife cruises in Orca Inlet, and shorebird jet-boat trips on the Copper River Delta. In addition they rent gear, including kayaks, canoes, small boats, inflatables, mountain bikes, fishing poles, and camping supplies. They even provide drop-offs and pickups by van or boat.
Cordova ’s Olympic-size swimming pool (907/424-7282) is on Railroad Avenue.