Photo Credit: K2 Aviation Talkeetna

Mat-Su Valley Day Tours & Attractions

The Mat-Su Valley is an adventure center encompassing a huge area just a few hours north of Anchorage. Drive there for a day trip, or stay in the towns of Palmer, Wasilla, or Talkeetna and explore!

Glacier Tours View All

Season: Apr 17 to Oct 31 $255+ Half, Full, and Multi-Day

With Alas­ka Back­coun­try Adven­ture Tours, you can expe­ri­ence glac­i­ers inac­ces­si­ble by road. Nev­er fear if you’ve nev­er dri­ven an before; this com­pa­ny teach­es you to maneu­ver your ATV through the Alaskan wilder­ness with your guide at the lead. Your des­ti­na­tion is the mag­nif­i­cent Knik Glac­i­er, where you’ll enjoy lunch and gor­geous scenery.

Season: Year Round $245+ Full day, half day and multi-day

Head out into the Alaskan wilder­ness on this excit­ing ATV adven­ture, dri­ving through woods and splash­ing through rivers on your way to a gor­geous glacial moraine sur­round­ed by tow­er­ing snow-capped peaks. Trans­porta­tion from Anchor­age included.

$200+ 3.5+ hrs

Hop aboard an eco-friend­ly snow­mo­bile in Gird­wood and ride on groomed trails beneath mas­sive, 7,000-foot glaciat­ed peaks or vis­it the daz­zling blue ice of Spencer Glac­i­er. Or, head north of Anchor­age for a trail ride through mid-alpine black spruce forests. No expe­ri­ence nec­es­sary, all gear pro­vid­ed, and warm bev­er­ages and snacks included. 

Season: Year Round $220+

Local­ly known as The Glac­i­er Land­ing Com­pa­ny,” TAT has been fly­ing climbers and sight­seers to the Alas­ka Range and Denali since 1947. Tal­keet­na Air Taxi fea­tures a cus­tom-designed fleet of planes, a ded­i­cat­ed cus­tomer ser­vice team, and a vari­ety of tours for every budget.

$89+ 3 hrs to full day excursions

There’s climb­ing a moun­tain – and then there’s climb­ing an ICE moun­tain. Regard­less of your climb­ing abil­i­ty or expe­ri­ence, you’ll end the day feel­ing ful­filled and inspired. MICA also offers short, guid­ed hikes and longer treks if you pre­fer a more leisure­ly explore of the glac­i­er and its grandeur.

Season: Year Round $230+ 1 to 2 hrs

While you may nev­er join the ranks of climbers who have sum­mit­ed Denali, an up-close view of North Amer­i­ca’s tallest peak can still be yours. K2 Avi­a­tion offers once-in-a-life­time flight­see­ing tours among and above the Alas­ka Range. Add a glac­i­er land­ing to get a sense of how immense these peaks real­ly are.

Season: May 01 to Sep 30 $569+ 1.5 hrs

Stun­ning scenery, a thrilling ride and hap­py pup­pies: this tour out of the Anchor­age area offers an unbeat­able com­bi­na­tion of clas­sic Alas­ka expe­ri­ences that will delight fam­i­lies or — real­ly, any­body. Tak­ing a total of about 90 min­utes, and run­ning from mid-May to ear­ly Sep­tem­ber, this tour includes a Flight­see­ing round trip, a small friend­ly group envi­ron­ment, and plen­ty of one-on-one time with the dogs and their mushers.

Season: May 01 to Sep 15 $95+ 4 to 6 hrs

Expe­ri­ence the thrill of walk­ing or climb­ing on a glac­i­er. The Matanus­ka is Alaska’s largest road-acces­si­ble glac­i­er, and it’s just 90 min­utes from Anchor­age, so it’s an easy way to get up close and per­son­al with these amaz­ing nat­ur­al won­ders. You don’t need to be expe­ri­enced in either activ­i­ty — just be in good shape and up for adven­ture. You’ll either walk around on the glac­i­er with cram­pons or learn how to use an ice axe and safe­ly work your  ...more

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Fishing Charters View All

Fish for for salmon and trout a few hours north of Anchorage
$550+ fly-in fishing day trip, $1,248+ overnight all-inclusive 1 - 6+ Nights

Explor­ing Alaska’s back­coun­try lakes, forests and rivers is a phe­nom­e­nal expe­ri­ence. Wilder­ness Place Lodge — tucked away on a remote riv­er north­west of Anchor­age — offers excel­lent access to near­ly any fresh­wa­ter fish you came to Alas­ka for, along with a unique eco-trav­el expe­ri­ence that comes with a high lev­el of ser­vice, a vari­ety of non-fish­ing activ­i­ties and the mel­low free­dom to cre­ate an Alaskan expe­ri­ence that suits your own taste.

$190+ 5 - 8 hours

Fish more of the hot spots with Phan­tom Char­ters, a fam­i­ly com­pa­ny run by folks who live to fish and bring a life­time of insid­er knowl­edge to your trip. Using spe­cial, shal­low-run­ning boats to get into hard-to-reach waters, they’ll take you to best riv­er fish­ing around Tal­keet­na. Wan­der the bank and cast for Sil­vers, Chums, Pinks, and Sock­eyes, or troll from behind the boat as well as shore fish for the Big Kings.

$225+ 3-9 hours

Explore the rivers of south­cen­tral Alas­ka on a float or fish­ing trip guid­ed by Hell Bent Fish­ing Char­ters. Raft along a scenic riv­er hid­ing away just min­utes off the road sys­tem. It fits per­fect­ly into a half day or full day, when you want to step out of the hus­tle and bus­tle of your vaca­tion and into authen­tic Alaska.

Season: Year Round $575 full day fishing, $1200+ all-inclusive multi-day packages 8 hrs - Multi-Days

The North­woods Lodge is a remote lodge where vis­i­tors can find them­selves in a 45 minute flight from Anchor­age. The lodge spe­cial­izes in guid­ed fish­ing, and guests can enjoy 8 to 10 hours of fish­ing a day if they choose. Guides help you spin or fly fish for tro­phy king salmon, sil­ver and sock­eye salmon, or res­i­dent rain­bow trout, arc­tic grayling and north­ern pike

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Flightseeing Tours View All

Season: Year Round $220+

Local­ly known as The Glac­i­er Land­ing Com­pa­ny,” TAT has been fly­ing climbers and sight­seers to the Alas­ka Range and Denali since 1947. Tal­keet­na Air Taxi fea­tures a cus­tom-designed fleet of planes, a ded­i­cat­ed cus­tomer ser­vice team, and a vari­ety of tours for every budget.

Season: Year Round $230+ 1 to 2 hrs

While you may nev­er join the ranks of climbers who have sum­mit­ed Denali, an up-close view of North Amer­i­ca’s tallest peak can still be yours. K2 Avi­a­tion offers once-in-a-life­time flight­see­ing tours among and above the Alas­ka Range. Add a glac­i­er land­ing to get a sense of how immense these peaks real­ly are.

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Rafting Tours View All

Season: Jun 11 to Aug 20 $95+ 2.5 to 3 hrs

Expe­ri­ence a scenic float along a glacial riv­er. Just 90 min­utes from Anchor­age, the Matanus­ka Glac­i­er is Alaska’s largest road-acces­si­ble glac­i­er, and the water run­ning under­neath cre­ates a riv­er that’s per­fect for raft­ing. You’ll float down­stream for up to 2 hours, tak­ing in the scenery along the way — moun­tains, riv­er chan­nels, hill­sides, moraines — and look­ing out for wildlife. It’s fun for the whole fam­i­ly — any­one ages 5 and up can do this  ...more

Season: May 16 to Sep 16 $84+ 2 hr to full day trips

Float through the remote wilder­ness of Denali State Park with the com­pa­ny that has offered expert­ly guid­ed raft­ing day trips for the past 16 years. You’ll get breath­tak­ing views of glacial moraines, boul­der fields, gran­ite canyons, and sparkling hematite beach­es. Wildlife abounds in this spec­tac­u­lar coun­try, and it’s quite com­mon to see eagles, bears, fox, wolf, lynx, beavers, and moose, as well as many species of birds and fish. Choose a  ...more

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $99 per person

Go for a relax­ing 3‑hour float trip down gen­tle Wil­low Creek as you take in the gor­geous scenery of the Alaskan back­coun­try. Depart­ing from Pio­neer Lodge, just off the Parks High­way south of Tal­keet­na, you’ll board a raft with up to 6 oth­ers and an expert guide. Then just kick back, or grab a pad­dle if you like: You can expect easy-glid­ing Class I and II rapids on this gen­tle river.

Season: Jun 01 to Aug 20 $120+ 3.5 to 4 Hours

If you’re new to white­wa­ter raft­ing or expe­ri­enced in shoot­ing through rapids, Lion’s Head makes for an excit­ing white­wa­ter raft­ing trip. You’ll spend 2.5 hours speed­ing down class II, III, and IV white­wa­ter, either pad­dling your­self or hang­ing on as your guide steers the raft down­stream. All the while, you’ll be pass­ing through gor­geous wilder­ness — wide-open vis­tas with mas­sive rock for­ma­tions — where you’ll have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to look for  ...more

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Dog Sledding Tours View All

Season: Year Round $150+ 2+ hrs

Win­ter or sum­mer, expe­ri­ence the thrill of run­ning Idi­tar­od sled dogs and even have a chance to dri­ve! Meet the sled dogs and hear first-hand just what it’s like to run the Iditarod.

Season: Year Round $99+ Summer | $169+ Winter 1 - 8 hours

Expe­ri­ence the excite­ment of rac­ing cham­pi­on sled dogs at the Alas­ka Mush­ing School, just 75 min­utes from Anchor­age. Get a professional’s insight into the mush­ing lifestyle as you ride behind a team of ener­getic sled dogs on trails con­nect­ed to the famous Idi­tar­od route. Bun­dle up and ride in com­fort, or brave the cold and dri­ve the team yourself!

Season: May 01 to Sep 30 $569+ 1.5 hrs

Stun­ning scenery, a thrilling ride and hap­py pup­pies: this tour out of the Anchor­age area offers an unbeat­able com­bi­na­tion of clas­sic Alas­ka expe­ri­ences that will delight fam­i­lies or — real­ly, any­body. Tak­ing a total of about 90 min­utes, and run­ning from mid-May to ear­ly Sep­tem­ber, this tour includes a Flight­see­ing round trip, a small friend­ly group envi­ron­ment, and plen­ty of one-on-one time with the dogs and their mushers.

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Guided Hiking View All

Season: Jun 01 to Sep 16 $443 3.5 hrs

Go hik­ing in the Alaskan wilder­ness, but book­end your hike with a spec­tac­u­lar heli­copter ride. Lift off from Tal­keet­na for a short, scenic flight into the bore­al for­est around town. Then get ready to start hik­ing with your expe­ri­enced nat­u­ral­ist guide. You’ll get great views of Denali, the Alas­ka Range, and count­less moun­tain peaks as you walk through the alpine tun­dra of the South Denali area — it’s a hiker’s par­adise only acces­si­ble by chopper.  ...more

Season: Jul 02 to Sep 10 $1,295 per person 4 days

Get a unique view of the Alaskan wilder­ness on a four- or sev­en-day back­pack­ing trip through the back­coun­try. You’ll be trekking on Kesu­gi Ridge in Denali State Park, with mag­nif­i­cent views of Mt. McKin­ley and of course plen­ty of wildlife to spot along the way. Your expe­ri­enced nat­u­ral­ist guide will be with you the whole way, cook­ing up great meals at your camp­sites. You should be fit enough to car­ry a pack up mod­er­ate hills, though you’ll  ...more

$89+ 3 hrs to full day excursions

There’s climb­ing a moun­tain – and then there’s climb­ing an ICE moun­tain. Regard­less of your climb­ing abil­i­ty or expe­ri­ence, you’ll end the day feel­ing ful­filled and inspired. MICA also offers short, guid­ed hikes and longer treks if you pre­fer a more leisure­ly explore of the glac­i­er and its grandeur.

Season: May 20 to Sep 16 $64+ 2.5 to 4.5 hrs

Explore Alas­ka on foot — take a scenic day hike into the South Denali area. Choose one of 3 great hikes; from an easy, 2‑mile stroll to a mod­er­ate­ly stren­u­ous 5½-hour hike. You’ll get spec­tac­u­lar views and see plen­ty of wildlife as you trek with your expe­ri­enced nat­u­ral­ist guide. Depend­ing on the hike you may pass pris­tine lakes, see an old pioneer’s cab­in, catch a glimpse of Mt. McKin­ley, and even have the chance to spot for­ag­ing bears. These  ...more

Season: May 01 to Sep 15 $95+ 4 to 6 hrs

Expe­ri­ence the thrill of walk­ing or climb­ing on a glac­i­er. The Matanus­ka is Alaska’s largest road-acces­si­ble glac­i­er, and it’s just 90 min­utes from Anchor­age, so it’s an easy way to get up close and per­son­al with these amaz­ing nat­ur­al won­ders. You don’t need to be expe­ri­enced in either activ­i­ty — just be in good shape and up for adven­ture. You’ll either walk around on the glac­i­er with cram­pons or learn how to use an ice axe and safe­ly work your  ...more

$370+ Fly-in Day Hike | $365+ Overnight

This fly-in wilder­ness lodge on a pri­vate lake in the Tal­keet­na Moun­tains is a great place to unplug. Choose from 3 pri­vate cab­ins and enjoy home-cooked meals served fam­i­ly style with oth­er guests. Take guid­ed walks to look for wildlife or wild berries, or just relax and enjoy the peace and bliss­ful views.

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Jeep & ATV Tours View All

Drive Through Glacier Valleys • Palmer / Wasilla, Eklutna & Glacier View

Season: May 06 to Sep 30 $100+ | Sundays Only 3.5 hrs

Rid­ing Alas­ka ATV Tours show­case the won­ders of the glacial­ly-fed Eklut­na Lake area, a local favorite hid­den away just out­side Anchor­age. Bring the fam­i­ly for a ful­ly-guid­ed ride along the lake and beyond – across grav­el moraines, over rush­ing rivers and through wood­lands, to with­in sight of Eklut­na glac­i­er itself. Sit back and relax while your dri­ver does all the work! Keep a look out: the peace­ful land­scape is alive with wildlife, including  ...more

Season: Apr 17 to Oct 31 $255+ Half, Full, and Multi-Day

With Alas­ka Back­coun­try Adven­ture Tours, you can expe­ri­ence glac­i­ers inac­ces­si­ble by road. Nev­er fear if you’ve nev­er dri­ven an before; this com­pa­ny teach­es you to maneu­ver your ATV through the Alaskan wilder­ness with your guide at the lead. Your des­ti­na­tion is the mag­nif­i­cent Knik Glac­i­er, where you’ll enjoy lunch and gor­geous scenery.

Season: Year Round $245+ Full day, half day and multi-day

Head out into the Alaskan wilder­ness on this excit­ing ATV adven­ture, dri­ving through woods and splash­ing through rivers on your way to a gor­geous glacial moraine sur­round­ed by tow­er­ing snow-capped peaks. Trans­porta­tion from Anchor­age included.

Season: May 25 to Aug 31 $99+ per person 3 hrs

The loca­tion of this ATV adven­ture is the mid­point between Anchor­age and Glen­nallen. Plen­ty of trav­el­ers dri­ve through this area with­out paus­ing for more than a pic­ture of the road­side glac­i­er, but Glac­i­er View ATV’s three-hour tour — the only ATV excur­sion in this part of Alas­ka — makes this tour well worth a longer stop. 

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Sightseeing Tours View All

Sightseeing & Food Tours

Sam­ple deli­cious syrup and sweets made from birch trees — like maple but not maple ‑at Kahilt­na Birch­works in Tal­keet­na — the world’s largest pro­duc­er of birch syrup. Stop in or shop online to expe­ri­ence this unique, local spin on a tempt­ing treat. Locat­ed at mile 1.1 of the Tal­keet­na Spur Rd, just off the Parks Highway

$110 Round Trip 6 hrs

The Hur­ri­cane Turn Train oper­ates on Thurs­day through Sun­day between Tal­keet­na and Hur­ri­cane Gulch from mid May to mid Sep­tem­ber. You can either take a scenic jour­ney round trip, or you can ask to be let off at whichev­er mile mark­er you choose. This train is how many peo­ple who live in the back­coun­try gain access to their homes or cab­ins. It is also pop­u­lar for fish­er­men who gain access to some great fish­ing spots by train. Get back on the  ...more

Season: Jun 15 to Sep 14 $95+ 4 - 5 hrs

Tour work­ing farms in Palmer, Anchor­age, and Tal­keet­na. You’ll take guid­ed walks around the farms, touch­ing plants, breath­ing in the air and some­times even tast­ing some­thing fresh­ly picked. But there is also a lot of sto­ry­telling, learn­ing about the unique chal­lenges that Alas­ka farm­ers face. Some tours offer option to sam­ple oth­er local prod­ucts like Alas­ka beer and birch syrup.

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Gold Panning Tours View All

Pan for gold in Alaska's backcountry
Season: May 13 to Sep 13 $125+ 4.5 hours

There’s still gold in Alas­ka, and you can learn from Denali Gold Tours what it takes to pan for the shiny flakes in pris­tine water near Trap­per Creek. Spend a half-day or full-day in the gor­geous Alas­ka coun­try­side with your guide, who will share old-timer pan­ning tech­niques and sto­ries from the dra­mat­ic days of Alaska’s gold rush.

Just south of the Cari­bou Creek bridge near mile mark­er 104 on the Glenn High­way in the shad­ow of the Lion’s Head rock for­ma­tion, look for the turnoff for the Cari­bou Creek Recre­ation­al Min­ing Area. You are not going to get fab­u­lous­ly rich here and be the next star of the TV real­i­ty show Gold Rush, but you do have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to car­ry a gold pan and shov­el, hike the steep half-mile-long trail down to the creek, and pan for gold.

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Zipline Tours View All

See glaciers, mountains, and boreal forests • Talkeetna & Glacier View
$99 2 hrs

Noth­ing gets your heart pound­ing like zoom­ing high above a glacial­ly carved val­ley. The Nitro and G2 are two of the longest zips in Alas­ka, and the G2 is the fastest in the state. You’ll get the most amaz­ing minute or so of sight-see­ing you’ve ever had, glid­ing up to a half mile near the Matanus­ka Riv­er, and into the forest­ed area around Matanus­ka Glacier.

Season: May 21 to Sep 18 $149 3 hrs

Com­bine great views of the Alas­ka Range and Denali with the thrill of ziplin­ing. Set in the forest­ed ridges above the Tal­keet­na Riv­er Val­ley, this is the far­thest-north canopy tour in North Amer­i­ca. On these nine ziplines and three sus­pen­sion bridges, you can get up close to the birch, cot­ton­wood, and spruce trees of the bore­al for­est — it’s earth’s largest ecosys­tem and a crit­i­cal nest­ing habi­tat for migrat­ing songbirds.

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Jetboat & Riverboat Tours View All

Season: May 15 to Sep 20 $75+ 2 to 5 hrs

Get hands-on and up close as you learn about local ani­mals, trap­pers, and the Dena’ina Indi­ans, with the wilder­ness as your class­room. Mahay’s Jet Boat Adven­tures makes it pos­si­ble with their jet boat adven­tures on the Susit­na, Tal­keet­na and Chulit­na Rivers. For some vis­i­tors, this explo­ration will be their deep­est immer­sion into the Alaskan wilder­ness — some­thing you just can’t get from a flight­see­ing tour, a cruise, or a car.

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Snowmobiling Tours View All

Season: Nov 15 to Apr 04 $255+ Half Day, Full Day, Multi-Day

Own­ers Mat­ti and Dan can­not think of a bet­ter way to appre­ci­ate Alas­ka than shar­ing it with oth­ers. Mat­ti was born and raised in Palmer, Alas­ka and has been on snow­ma­chines most of her life. Alas­ka Back­coun­try Adven­tures offers mild to wild” expe­ri­ences and prides itself on pro­vid­ing a cus­tomized expe­ri­ence for all lev­els of abil­i­ty. It offers the widest vari­ety of expe­di­tions on the lat­est and great­est equipment.

$150+ 3 hrs

Feel the thrill of explor­ing the Alaskan wilder­ness while dri­ving your own snow­mo­bile over the tun­dra, look­ing for wildlife and tak­ing in amaz­ing views. And on a clear day you’ll get an amaz­ing view of Denali.

$200+ 3.5+ hrs

Hop aboard an eco-friend­ly snow­mo­bile in Gird­wood and ride on groomed trails beneath mas­sive, 7,000-foot glaciat­ed peaks or vis­it the daz­zling blue ice of Spencer Glac­i­er. Or, head north of Anchor­age for a trail ride through mid-alpine black spruce forests. No expe­ri­ence nec­es­sary, all gear pro­vid­ed, and warm bev­er­ages and snacks included. 

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Scenic Day Drives View All

In the Tal­keet­na Moun­tains between the towns of Wil­low and Palmer, Hatch­er Pass is a local favorite for recre­ation or a scenic dri­ve. Hike in alpine tun­dra dot­ted with wild­flow­ers and ptarmi­gan, ski fresh, deep pow­der, or vis­it Inde­pen­dence Mine His­tor­i­cal State Park.

The scenic, essen­tial 323-mile-long Parks High­way con­nects Anchor­age and Fair­banks, thread­ing its way past some of Alaska’s most icon­ic Alaskan areas, includ­ing Denali Nation­al Park and Mt. McKin­ley. But we’ll take you far beyond what you can see from the road. We’ll also show you some of the hid­den gems you wouldn’t find on your own, like an old trapper’s cab­in that offers a glimpse into Alaska’s past. We’ll let you in on cool trails to…  ...more

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Wildlife Parks View All

$11 40 - 45 min

Locat­ed 45 min­utes from Anchor­age, the Musk Ox farm project was con­ceived in the 1950s as an agrar­i­an oppor­tu­ni­ty for vil­lagers in West­ern Alas­ka; today it’s a fas­ci­nat­ing look at an ani­mal (and a way of life) that was per­ilous­ly close to extinc­tion. You can take a 30- to 40-minute tour of the farm and see some 70 musk ox. Since they’re friend­ly crea­tures, they may come right up to the fence to greet you.

Season: Year Round $13+ 1 hour

In the agri­cul­tur­al Matanus­ka Val­ley just north of Anchor­age, you can pet a rein­deer or feed fresh wil­low to a bull moose. Set on a 200-acre plot in Palmer, the Rein­deer Farm has been in the Williams fam­i­ly for three gen­er­a­tions. Dur­ing the one-hour tour, you’ll hear inter­est­ing, fun­ny, and insight­ful sto­ries about these wild ani­mals while walk­ing around the prop­er­ty. If you want to see the baby rein­deer, come in June!

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Visitor Information Centers View All

If you want to climb Denali (Mt. McKin­ley), this is where you have to come to get your per­mit. Not a climber? Vis­it­ing is still a fas­ci­nat­ing les­son in moun­taineer­ing and Denal­i’s his­to­ry — from inter­pre­tive pro­grams to a tit­il­lat­ing video about climb­ing that shows through­out the day. The rus­tic and beau­ti­ful build­ing also hosts a per­ma­nent col­lec­tion of pho­tos of the Alas­ka Range. Pho­tog­ra­ph­er, explor­er, and sci­en­tist Brad­ford Wash­burn is…  ...more

This log cab­in with a pitched roof and panoram­ic win­dows sits on a bluff beside the high­way and is easy to miss. But be sure to stop in for advice on your vis­it to the Mat-Su. There’s an infor­ma­tion­al video run­ning inside, plus a bevy of vol­un­teers who have at least 60 years com­bined expe­ri­ence in the area. Where should I eat din­ner? What tour should I take for wildlife view­ing? Where’s the best camp­ground? They help­ful locals here will help…  ...more

Housed in a one-room log cab­in, this muse­um and vis­i­tor cen­ter packs a lot into its small space. Learn about Aht­na Athabas­can natives, explore min­ing and trap­ping his­to­ry, and check out the his­to­ry of the fas­ci­nat­ing Colony project — a New Deal pro­gram that brought 204 farm fam­i­lies to Alas­ka. You can also pick up tour books and maps, or ask the knowl­edge­able staff about area attrac­tions. The museum’s per­ma­nent col­lec­tion spans the development…  ...more

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Museums & Cultural Centers View All

Housed in a one-room log cab­in, this muse­um and vis­i­tor cen­ter packs a lot into its small space. Learn about Aht­na Athabas­can natives, explore min­ing and trap­ping his­to­ry, and check out the his­to­ry of the fas­ci­nat­ing Colony project — a New Deal pro­gram that brought 204 farm fam­i­lies to Alas­ka. You can also pick up tour books and maps, or ask the knowl­edge­able staff about area attrac­tions. The museum’s per­ma­nent col­lec­tion spans the development…  ...more

The house is an orig­i­nal Colony Farm House” built express­ly for the New Deal reset­tle­ment project spon­sored in 1935 by the Roo­sevelt Admin­is­tra­tion. Vis­i­tors will learn the his­to­ry of the Colony project, often first hand, from descen­dants of the orig­i­nal colonists who staff the house and serve as tour guides. The house is fur­nished ca. 1935 – 45, dis­play­ing some orig­i­nal fur­nish­ings sup­plied by Sears and Roe­buck for the…  ...more

Learn about this rur­al town’s native, gold min­ing, and avi­a­tion his­to­ry in this muse­um housed in a lit­tle red school house, as well as a num­ber of small­er, old rail­road build­ings. You’ll find out about ice roads and hors­es wear­ing snow shoes, how air­planes took over from trac­tors, as well as infor­ma­tion about bear traps, native arti­facts, and how folks sur­vived the harsh win­ters of the Susit­na Val­ley. Also, see some of the orig­i­nal trappers’…  ...more

Locat­ed on the world-famous Idi­tar­od Trail and housed in one of the two remain­ing build­ings from Knik’s orig­i­nal town­site, the Knik Muse­um fea­tures the Sled Dog Mush­er’s Hall of Fame on the sec­ond floor. The muse­um build­ing was pre­vi­ous­ly used as a pool hall and road­house, and now con­tains a col­lec­tion of cloth­ing, dish­es, fur­ni­ture and arti­facts from Knik’s ear­li­er days. Oper­at­ed by the Wasil­la-Knik-Wil­low Creek Historical…  ...more

Ded­i­cat­ed to the tech­nol­o­gy that opened the Last Fron­tier, this muse­um is a gearhead’s dream. And it’s pret­ty darned inter­est­ing even if you aren’t into trains, planes or heavy machin­ery. Set on 20 acres, you can wan­der through old train cars, around com­mer­cial fish­ing boats and cars and explore old farm and oil machin­ery. Or head inside and learn about Alas­ka Pio­neer­ing women, gold min­ing and avi­a­tion. Only four miles from down­town Wasilla,…  ...more

Get a glimpe into the lives of Alaska’s ear­li­est pio­neers amidst arti­facts, maps, pic­tures and sto­ries depict­ing the rugged life of local gold min­ers, fur trap­pers, home­stead­ers and oth­er adven­tur­ers. The muse­um high­lights the his­to­ry of Trap­per Creek, Cache Creek Min­ing Dis­trict and Petersville Road. The Trap­per Creek area was set­tled in 1959 by a car­a­van of peo­ple who trav­eled from Michi­gan. Com­mon­ly referred to as the 59ers,” those who…  ...more

Trans­port your­self to the Alas­ka of the past in this muse­um and his­toric town site. Check out min­ing digs as you trav­el down stairs paint­ed like an old mine shaft. Then learn about the hard-rock gold min­ing in Hatch­er Pass dur­ing the 1930s. View arti­facts from Athabas­cans, learn about dog mush­ing, and walk through a his­toric dentist’s office. The main muse­um build­ing, once a com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter for bas­ket­ball games and church ser­vices, now tells…  ...more

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Fairs & Festivals View All

This 4.5‑mile trail, some 2 hours north of Anchor­age on the west side of Hatch­er Pass, climbs 1,000 feet up a very typ­i­cal Tal­keet­na val­ley — long, broad, and lined with tow­er­ing peaks on both sides. It also pass­es by relics and ruins of old min­ing days, when these val­leys echoed with the sounds of picks and drills.

Vis­i­ble out­side the win­dows of the Mat-Su Con­ven­tion and Vis­i­tors Bureau, this state wildlife refuge is the result of the 1964 earth­quake. Lit­er­al­ly overnight, the land dropped by 6 to 20 feet; hay fields and pas­ture­land became salt flats and marsh­land. Once home to cows and grains, the land is now prime habi­tat for moose, birds, and fish. Some 20,000 acres are pro­tect­ed in the refuge, which is a pop­u­lar recre­ation and wildlife-viewing…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

This short, paved trail is an hour’s dri­ve north of Anchor­age in south­ern Wasil­la. It leads out to a bluff on Palmer Hay Flats — a large stretch of wet­lands with all kinds of wildlife. There, a view­ing plat­form over­looks the flats and the Chugach Moun­tains beyond.

$99+

This lodge offers spec­tac­u­lar views of Mount McKin­ley and is sit­u­at­ed with­in Denali State Park on the banks of the Chulit­na Riv­er. Rooms offer nine-foot ceil­ings and fans; some offer amaz­ing moun­tain views. When you’re not in your room, relax in the Great Room with its huge stone fire­place and floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows. Or, step out­side and stroll one of the three nature trails, either on your own or on a guid­ed, park ranger-led walk.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 16 miles Elevation Gain: 2900 feet

A straight­for­ward trip with big scenery pay­offs, like the pic­turesque Mint Hut and a val­ley dot­ted with hang­ing glac­i­ers. This trip is a great first back­pack­ing trip in Alas­ka with sim­ple logis­tics. It’s 16 miles with options for addi­tion­al miles and side trips.

Difficulty: Moderate

How to get ThereThe Plum­ley-Maud Trail can be accessed from the end of Maud Road, or from the cor­ner on Plum­ley Road near Caudill Road. 1) Access from Maud Road: From Palmer go south east 3 12 miles on the Old Glenn High­way, take a left on Maud Road, fol­low Maud Road for 1 12 miles. There is a small turn around and lim­it­ed park­ing before the creek direct­ly east of the road. Please be care­ful not to block the entrance to the trail or the…  ...more

Season: Year Round $99+ per night

This inti­mate 4‑room B&B, just 45 min­utes from Anchor­age in charm­ing Palmer, is set on six gor­geous acres and comes with great views, deli­cious break­fasts, and hosts who are pas­sion­ate about mak­ing you feel right at home.

$550+ fly-in fishing day trip, $1,248+ overnight all-inclusive 1 - 6+ Nights

Explor­ing Alaska’s back­coun­try lakes, forests and rivers is a phe­nom­e­nal expe­ri­ence. Wilder­ness Place Lodge — tucked away on a remote riv­er north­west of Anchor­age — offers excel­lent access to near­ly any fresh­wa­ter fish you came to Alas­ka for, along with a unique eco-trav­el expe­ri­ence that comes with a high lev­el of ser­vice, a vari­ety of non-fish­ing activ­i­ties and the mel­low free­dom to cre­ate an Alaskan expe­ri­ence that suits your own taste.

$200+ 3.5+ hrs

Hop aboard an eco-friend­ly snow­mo­bile in Gird­wood and ride on groomed trails beneath mas­sive, 7,000-foot glaciat­ed peaks or vis­it the daz­zling blue ice of Spencer Glac­i­er. Or, head north of Anchor­age for a trail ride through mid-alpine black spruce forests. No expe­ri­ence nec­es­sary, all gear pro­vid­ed, and warm bev­er­ages and snacks included. 

Season: Aug 27 to Sep 07

For over 75 years, the Alas­ka State Fair has been a gath­er­ing place for all Alaskans, and a last hur­rah” before sum­mer gives way to the long Alas­ka winter.What start­ed as a cel­e­bra­tion for the Mat-Su colonists in 1936 has grown into the state’s largest annu­al event. Each year, hun­dreds of thou­sands of fair­go­ers enjoyed night­ly con­certs fea­tur­ing head­line enter­tain­ers in the AT&T Con­cert Series, car­ni­val rides and games, hun­dreds of…  ...more

Want to feel dwarfed by Alaska’s moun­tains? Take a 2‑hour dri­ve north on the Parks High­way and then up Hatch­er Pass Road, where you’ll find this 2‑mile-long ATV trail — a wide but occa­sion­al­ly steep path that leads to the crest of Box Lake Ridge. From the big, round­ed top of this ridge, you can’t help but feel over­whelmed by the enor­mous Tal­keet­na Moun­tains that sur­round you.

UPDATE: The camp­ground will be tem­porar­i­ly closed begin­ning in 2020 due to the dan­ger posed by trees infest­ed with spruce-bark bee­tles. Rot­ting trees have been top­pling. State parks plans to reopen the camp­ground after the haz­ardous trees have been removed. Camp­ing by this 108-acre lake inside the Nan­cy Lake State Recre­ation Area near Wil­low feels like you’ve reached the end of the road. To the west stretch­es unbro­ken wilder­ness to the Alaska  ...more

$150+ 3 hrs

Feel the thrill of explor­ing the Alaskan wilder­ness while dri­ving your own snow­mo­bile over the tun­dra, look­ing for wildlife and tak­ing in amaz­ing views. And on a clear day you’ll get an amaz­ing view of Denali.

Season: Jun 01 to Sep 16 $443 3.5 hrs

Go hik­ing in the Alaskan wilder­ness, but book­end your hike with a spec­tac­u­lar heli­copter ride. Lift off from Tal­keet­na for a short, scenic flight into the bore­al for­est around town. Then get ready to start hik­ing with your expe­ri­enced nat­u­ral­ist guide. You’ll get great views of Denali, the Alas­ka Range, and count­less moun­tain peaks as you walk through the alpine tun­dra of the South Denali area — it’s a hiker’s par­adise only acces­si­ble by chopper.  ...more

Season: May 15 to Sep 20 $75+ 2 to 5 hrs

Get hands-on and up close as you learn about local ani­mals, trap­pers, and the Dena’ina Indi­ans, with the wilder­ness as your class­room. Mahay’s Jet Boat Adven­tures makes it pos­si­ble with their jet boat adven­tures on the Susit­na, Tal­keet­na and Chulit­na Rivers. For some vis­i­tors, this explo­ration will be their deep­est immer­sion into the Alaskan wilder­ness — some­thing you just can’t get from a flight­see­ing tour, a cruise, or a car.

Season: May 25 to Aug 31

Halfway between Anchor­age and Glen­nallen, where you’ll find a vari­ety of accom­mo­da­tions, a deli­cious din­er, and tons of adventures

Difficulty: Difficult

Dur­ing peri­ods of clear weath­er, this route through Denali State Park offers sim­i­lar ter­rain and scenery to Denali Nation­al Park — includ­ing unpar­al­leled views of Denali — with­out the cum­ber­some per­mit­ting process. This trail sys­tem offers many options for start­ing and end­ing points, as there are four trail­heads along its length. 

Season: Jun 15 to Aug 01
$3225 per person
4 night / 5 day
Land Package Type: Guided Backcountry Adventures

This pack­age com­bines the most impres­sive aspects of inte­ri­or remote Alas­ka; flight­see­ing, glac­i­er hik­ing, dog sled­ding, fish­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy, and a deluxe Alaskan lodge. Play hard by day, then wine and dine your­selves to a bliss­ful sleep in your pri­vate cabin.

There are some nice long down­hills with banked turns, a few shal­low creek cross­ings, and some chunk sec­tions. Most of this trail lies on south-fac­ing hill­sides, with views of the Knik Riv­er Val­ley and Pio­neer Peak.

Season: Year Round $13+ 1 hour

In the agri­cul­tur­al Matanus­ka Val­ley just north of Anchor­age, you can pet a rein­deer or feed fresh wil­low to a bull moose. Set on a 200-acre plot in Palmer, the Rein­deer Farm has been in the Williams fam­i­ly for three gen­er­a­tions. Dur­ing the one-hour tour, you’ll hear inter­est­ing, fun­ny, and insight­ful sto­ries about these wild ani­mals while walk­ing around the prop­er­ty. If you want to see the baby rein­deer, come in June!

$169+

Dis­cov­er cozy cab­ins, great food, and big Alaskan adven­tures at this inti­mate lodge that sits on the edge of the wilder­ness yet is super-acces­si­ble from Anchor­age. It lies tucked in at the back of the Knik Riv­er Val­ley and at the end of Knik Riv­er Road, where Alaska’s real wilder­ness opens up, with moun­tain and riv­er views — but with­out a flight or long dri­ve. It’s the per­fect place to escape for a few days, with lots of activ­i­ties avail­able from  ...more

Season: Jun 12 to Aug 15
$2262+ per person
2 – 4 Nights
Land Package Type: Guided Backcountry Adventures

This amaz­ing adven­ture com­bines two wilder­ness lodges, fine cui­sine, a float plane ride, heli-glac­i­er tour and guid­ed riv­er fish­ing – all with­in a con­ve­nient 100-mile radius of Anchorage!

Difficulty: Moderate Elevation Gain: 2200 feet

About a half a mile past where the road turns sharply left (by the old Moth­er­lode Restau­rant) is a pull off on the left and archangel road to the right. The road is dirt, and in the sum­mer­time you can dri­ve the trail for a mile or two, but it is pit­ted with deep holes and rocks. After a mile or two, a park­ing area and trail turns off to the right. Here the trail con­tin­ues with lit­tle ele­va­tion gain ini­tial­ly, but after a mile or so you will  ...more

$11 40 - 45 min

Locat­ed 45 min­utes from Anchor­age, the Musk Ox farm project was con­ceived in the 1950s as an agrar­i­an oppor­tu­ni­ty for vil­lagers in West­ern Alas­ka; today it’s a fas­ci­nat­ing look at an ani­mal (and a way of life) that was per­ilous­ly close to extinc­tion. You can take a 30- to 40-minute tour of the farm and see some 70 musk ox. Since they’re friend­ly crea­tures, they may come right up to the fence to greet you.

Season: Apr 17 to Oct 31 $255+ Half, Full, and Multi-Day

With Alas­ka Back­coun­try Adven­ture Tours, you can expe­ri­ence glac­i­ers inac­ces­si­ble by road. Nev­er fear if you’ve nev­er dri­ven an before; this com­pa­ny teach­es you to maneu­ver your ATV through the Alaskan wilder­ness with your guide at the lead. Your des­ti­na­tion is the mag­nif­i­cent Knik Glac­i­er, where you’ll enjoy lunch and gor­geous scenery.

Difficulty: Easy

Two trails trav­el over the Mat-Su Col­lege lands; one from the col­lege and one from Snod­grass Hall. The Mat-Su Col­lege trail­head leads to a hilly loop and opens to beau­ti­ful views of Lazy Moun­tain, Twin Peaks, Boden­burge Butte, and Knik Glac­i­er — the best moun­tain views in the entire green­belt system.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

As you approach the Inde­pen­dence Mine Park­ing Lot, the trail can be seen to the far right end. It cross­es over a small bridge, and winds up past an old aban­doned min­ing cab­in, and then up a debris field and final­ly to the lake. Round trip, the hike is almost 2 miles, and the ele­va­tion gain is approx­i­mate­ly 600 feet. The trail can be mud­dy and wet for the first .25 miles, but it’s worth the hike to see Gold Cord Lake, and a great view of the Mine  ...more

$110 Round Trip 6 hrs

The Hur­ri­cane Turn Train oper­ates on Thurs­day through Sun­day between Tal­keet­na and Hur­ri­cane Gulch from mid May to mid Sep­tem­ber. You can either take a scenic jour­ney round trip, or you can ask to be let off at whichev­er mile mark­er you choose. This train is how many peo­ple who live in the back­coun­try gain access to their homes or cab­ins. It is also pop­u­lar for fish­er­men who gain access to some great fish­ing spots by train. Get back on the  ...more

Season: May 20 to Sep 16 $64+ 2.5 to 4.5 hrs

Explore Alas­ka on foot — take a scenic day hike into the South Denali area. Choose one of 3 great hikes; from an easy, 2‑mile stroll to a mod­er­ate­ly stren­u­ous 5½-hour hike. You’ll get spec­tac­u­lar views and see plen­ty of wildlife as you trek with your expe­ri­enced nat­u­ral­ist guide. Depend­ing on the hike you may pass pris­tine lakes, see an old pioneer’s cab­in, catch a glimpse of Mt. McKin­ley, and even have the chance to spot for­ag­ing bears. These  ...more

Season: Jun 01 to Aug 20 $120+ 3.5 to 4 Hours

If you’re new to white­wa­ter raft­ing or expe­ri­enced in shoot­ing through rapids, Lion’s Head makes for an excit­ing white­wa­ter raft­ing trip. You’ll spend 2.5 hours speed­ing down class II, III, and IV white­wa­ter, either pad­dling your­self or hang­ing on as your guide steers the raft down­stream. All the while, you’ll be pass­ing through gor­geous wilder­ness — wide-open vis­tas with mas­sive rock for­ma­tions — where you’ll have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to look for  ...more

$89+ 3 hrs to full day excursions

There’s climb­ing a moun­tain – and then there’s climb­ing an ICE moun­tain. Regard­less of your climb­ing abil­i­ty or expe­ri­ence, you’ll end the day feel­ing ful­filled and inspired. MICA also offers short, guid­ed hikes and longer treks if you pre­fer a more leisure­ly explore of the glac­i­er and its grandeur.

Season: May 01 to Sep 30

In down­town Tal­keet­na you can meet local artists, gold min­ers, and intre­pid moun­taineers, along with some of the town’s orig­i­nal home­stead­ers, like Don Devore. He and his wife Mavis offer homey lodg­ing options at Denali Fire­side Cab­ins & Suites with­in walk­ing dis­tance to Talkeetna’s var­ied activ­i­ties. Their facil­i­ty is sparkling clean, well main­tained, and beau­ti­ful­ly decorated.

Season: Year Round $230+ 1 to 2 hrs

While you may nev­er join the ranks of climbers who have sum­mit­ed Denali, an up-close view of North Amer­i­ca’s tallest peak can still be yours. K2 Avi­a­tion offers once-in-a-life­time flight­see­ing tours among and above the Alas­ka Range. Add a glac­i­er land­ing to get a sense of how immense these peaks real­ly are.

Where else can you walk to the end of Main Street and find your­self at the con­flu­ence of three wild rivers, over­look­ing a 20,000-foot peak? Close to down­town, this large, riv­er-cen­tered park offers wide open, untouched spaces, along with great panoram­ic view of the Alas­ka Range.

Season: Year Round $125+

Enjoy your own pri­vate log cab­in in the wilder­ness, with all the mod­ern con­ve­niences, just an hour north of Anchor­age and min­utes from Wasil­la and Palmer. Nes­tled at the entrance to Hatch­er Pass in the Tal­keet­na Moun­tains, your cozy log cab­in makes an ide­al base camp for all your Alaskan adventures!

The Fish­hook Trail­head park­ing lot is locat­ed at mile 16.5 of Hatch­er Pass Road. This area is active­ly used year round. In the sum­mer it’s a great area to hike and in late sum­mer the slopes are abun­dant with blue­ber­ries. This trail­head also leads to Mar­mot Moun­tain, were paraglid­ers launch from the top and land in the park­ing lot. In the win­ter, the area draws indi­vid­u­als to sled, ski and snow­ma­chine. This trail­head inter­sects with The Hatcher  ...more

Season: Jun 15 to Aug 21
$995+ per person
Land Package Type: Guided Backcountry Adventures

In just 24 hours you can expe­ri­ence an Alaskan float plane ride, an overnight in a deluxe wilder­ness lodge with a gourmet din­ner, and a taste of Alaska’s famous riv­er fishing.

Season: May 25 to Aug 31 $99+ per person 3 hrs

The loca­tion of this ATV adven­ture is the mid­point between Anchor­age and Glen­nallen. Plen­ty of trav­el­ers dri­ve through this area with­out paus­ing for more than a pic­ture of the road­side glac­i­er, but Glac­i­er View ATV’s three-hour tour — the only ATV excur­sion in this part of Alas­ka — makes this tour well worth a longer stop. 

Just a 45-minute dri­ve from Anchor­age, Raven’s Perch lies with­in the main lodge at the cozy Knik Riv­er Lodge, with big win­dows and an out­door deck look­ing out to a spec­tac­u­lar view. The focus here is on local, sus­tain­able ingre­di­ents and prod­ucts. The staff talks with local farm­ers and plans ahead to see what veg­eta­bles are com­ing into sea­son to cre­ate their menus.

Distance: 2 miles Elevation Gain: 800 feet

Sum­mit Lake, locat­ed some 60 miles north of Anchor­age at the crest of Hatch­er Pass, offers a short, mem­o­rable lake­side ram­ble. Here you can explore the sur­round­ing gul­lies and slopes or just sit and watch hang glid­ers drift out over the long Wil­low Creek Val­ley, which extends for miles from the west side of the pass.

Some 50 miles north of Anchor­age, this 1.5‑mile trail makes for a fine fam­i­ly out­ing. From the pic­nic table at the upper­most end of the trail, you’ll find a sat­is­fy­ing panoram­ic view of the Matanus­ka Riv­er and Knik Riv­er val­leys. It’s a view as good, or bet­ter, than that from many summits.

Season: Year Round $150+ 2+ hrs

Win­ter or sum­mer, expe­ri­ence the thrill of run­ning Idi­tar­od sled dogs and even have a chance to dri­ve! Meet the sled dogs and hear first-hand just what it’s like to run the Iditarod.

Season: May 06 to Sep 30 $100+ | Sundays Only 3.5 hrs

Rid­ing Alas­ka ATV Tours show­case the won­ders of the glacial­ly-fed Eklut­na Lake area, a local favorite hid­den away just out­side Anchor­age. Bring the fam­i­ly for a ful­ly-guid­ed ride along the lake and beyond – across grav­el moraines, over rush­ing rivers and through wood­lands, to with­in sight of Eklut­na glac­i­er itself. Sit back and relax while your dri­ver does all the work! Keep a look out: the peace­ful land­scape is alive with wildlife, including  ...more

A pre­mier pad­dling des­ti­na­tion in sum­mer, the eight-mile loop canoe trail through 14 lakes can be skat­ed after freeze-up and before sig­nif­i­cant snow­fall. Peo­ple often cruise the entire route in one long day, or skate out a few lakes and return. Be pre­pared to hike portages up to a half-mile between lakes. 71 miles north of Anchorage.

Season: Jun 15 to Jul 10
$2,675+
2 – 4 Night
Land Package Type: Guided Backcountry Adventures

Expe­ri­ence the best of June fish­ing at the remote, fly-in Wilder­ness Place Lodge where you’ll tar­get rain­bow trout, arc­tic grayling, and north­ern pike.

Sam­ple deli­cious syrup and sweets made from birch trees — like maple but not maple ‑at Kahilt­na Birch­works in Tal­keet­na — the world’s largest pro­duc­er of birch syrup. Stop in or shop online to expe­ri­ence this unique, local spin on a tempt­ing treat. Locat­ed at mile 1.1 of the Tal­keet­na Spur Rd, just off the Parks Highway

Season: May 21 to Sep 18 $149 3 hrs

Com­bine great views of the Alas­ka Range and Denali with the thrill of ziplin­ing. Set in the forest­ed ridges above the Tal­keet­na Riv­er Val­ley, this is the far­thest-north canopy tour in North Amer­i­ca. On these nine ziplines and three sus­pen­sion bridges, you can get up close to the birch, cot­ton­wood, and spruce trees of the bore­al for­est — it’s earth’s largest ecosys­tem and a crit­i­cal nest­ing habi­tat for migrat­ing songbirds.

$99 2 hrs

Noth­ing gets your heart pound­ing like zoom­ing high above a glacial­ly carved val­ley. The Nitro and G2 are two of the longest zips in Alas­ka, and the G2 is the fastest in the state. You’ll get the most amaz­ing minute or so of sight-see­ing you’ve ever had, glid­ing up to a half mile near the Matanus­ka Riv­er, and into the forest­ed area around Matanus­ka Glacier.

Season: May 16 to Sep 16 $84+ 2 hr to full day trips

Float through the remote wilder­ness of Denali State Park with the com­pa­ny that has offered expert­ly guid­ed raft­ing day trips for the past 16 years. You’ll get breath­tak­ing views of glacial moraines, boul­der fields, gran­ite canyons, and sparkling hematite beach­es. Wildlife abounds in this spec­tac­u­lar coun­try, and it’s quite com­mon to see eagles, bears, fox, wolf, lynx, beavers, and moose, as well as many species of birds and fish. Choose a  ...more

These frozen chan­nels wind for miles across the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge off the Glenn High­way in the mouth of the Matanus­ka and Knik riv­er val­leys, just 35 miles north of Anchor­age. Either trav­el the streams or explore exten­sive pond net­works on the flats.

There’s noth­ing quite like camp­ing in the woods with the fam­i­ly when you’re a kid. The crack­ling camp­fire and gooey s’mores. Bik­ing around the camp­ground loop. Run­ning through the for­est and gath­er­ing wood. Catch­ing (and land­ing) that first fish. Here we offer details for nine great pub­lic fam­i­ly camp­grounds with­in a 90-minute dri­ve from Anchorage.

Difficulty: Easy

With a length of just 1.5 miles and a sum­mit reach­ing only 874 feet, West Butte Trail on Boden­burg Butte — a 45-minute dri­ve north of Anchor­age — makes for a fine fam­i­ly out­ing. But even if you’re a more expe­ri­enced hik­er, don’t let the butte’s dwarf-like height dis­suade you. This small bump in the cen­ter of a grand allu­vial plain offers far-reach­ing views from its sum­mit; plus, the climb includes a pulse-quick­en­ing 0.25 miles of stairs up the steep  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate

Locat­ed one-third of the way from Palmer to Wasil­la, this 33-mile trail sys­tem mean­ders through bore­al for­est, farm­land, and the rolling moraines left by the glac­i­ers of the last Ice Age. The trails are some of the only non-moun­tain, non-motor­ized path­ways in the area, and they’re pop­u­lar with dog walk­ers, moun­tain bik­ers, geo-cachers, cross-coun­try skiers, run­ners, and equestrians.

Distance: 7 miles Elevation Gain: 3300 feet

Begin­ning almost 120 miles north­east of Anchor­age on the Glenn High­way, the trail to the sum­mit of Gun­sight Moun­tain takes a while to reach. After all, it involves a 3.5‑mile, 3,300-foot climb through some very big coun­try. But the view from the top makes for an all-day excur­sion that you won’t eas­i­ly forget.

Season: Year Round $245+ Full day, half day and multi-day

Head out into the Alaskan wilder­ness on this excit­ing ATV adven­ture, dri­ving through woods and splash­ing through rivers on your way to a gor­geous glacial moraine sur­round­ed by tow­er­ing snow-capped peaks. Trans­porta­tion from Anchor­age included.

Difficulty: Difficult Elevation Gain: 5200 feet

Are you a moun­tain run­ner look­ing for a tough work­out? Con­sid­er Pio­neer Ridge Trail. This trail, locat­ed a 1‑hour dri­ve north of Anchor­age on scenic Knik Riv­er Road, climbs some 5,200 feet over its 6 miles. Oth­er trails, like Lazy Moun­tain Trail and Mount Marathon Race Route, may be steep­er or rock­i­er, but no trail in the Chugach Moun­tains climbs so steadi­ly for so long as Pio­neer Ridge.

Season: Sep 19 to May 09 $63+

Win­ter in Alas­ka is a mag­i­cal time, with few­er vis­i­tors and a serene, snow-cov­ered land­scape. If you’re here from mid-Sep­tem­ber to mid-May, you can take it in from the com­fort of the Auro­ra Win­ter Train, which runs between Anchor­age and Fair­banks. It’s an easy and mem­o­rable way to trav­el north and expe­ri­ence the auro­ra bore­alis, or even do a week­end get­away to Talkeetna.

Season: Nov 15 to Apr 04 $255+ Half Day, Full Day, Multi-Day

Own­ers Mat­ti and Dan can­not think of a bet­ter way to appre­ci­ate Alas­ka than shar­ing it with oth­ers. Mat­ti was born and raised in Palmer, Alas­ka and has been on snow­ma­chines most of her life. Alas­ka Back­coun­try Adven­tures offers mild to wild” expe­ri­ences and prides itself on pro­vid­ing a cus­tomized expe­ri­ence for all lev­els of abil­i­ty. It offers the widest vari­ety of expe­di­tions on the lat­est and great­est equipment.

This recre­ation area is just a mile and a half from town, but it feels like wilder­ness — with deep woods and sev­er­al lakes, it’s a great place to hike, run, canoe, fish, or look for wildlife. Watch for otters, beavers, bears, fox­es, moose, and more than 100 species of birds, includ­ing rap­tors and loons. The park’s best fea­ture is a nice­ly groomed 3.5‑mile walk­ing trail around X Lake through lush old-growth for­est. Cus­tom log bench­es are a nice…  ...more

Season: Jul 02 to Sep 10 $1,295 per person 4 days

Get a unique view of the Alaskan wilder­ness on a four- or sev­en-day back­pack­ing trip through the back­coun­try. You’ll be trekking on Kesu­gi Ridge in Denali State Park, with mag­nif­i­cent views of Mt. McKin­ley and of course plen­ty of wildlife to spot along the way. Your expe­ri­enced nat­u­ral­ist guide will be with you the whole way, cook­ing up great meals at your camp­sites. You should be fit enough to car­ry a pack up mod­er­ate hills, though you’ll  ...more

Syn­cline Moun­tain fea­tures two sum­mits— whichev­er you choose, you’ll hike beneath a whole lot of sky and look out on a whole lot of country.

In the Tal­keet­na Moun­tains between the towns of Wil­low and Palmer, Hatch­er Pass is a local favorite for recre­ation or a scenic dri­ve. Hike in alpine tun­dra dot­ted with wild­flow­ers and ptarmi­gan, ski fresh, deep pow­der, or vis­it Inde­pen­dence Mine His­tor­i­cal State Park.

Difficulty: Difficult Elevation Gain: 5670 feet

No offi­cial trail in South­cen­tral Alas­ka climbs as high as Matanus­ka Peak Trail. Begin­ning in a sub­di­vi­sion across the Matanus­ka Riv­er from Palmer, this near­ly 6‑mile-long trail runs up some 5,700 ver­ti­cal feet. Your des­ti­na­tion is the 6,119-foot sum­mit of Matanus­ka Peak, the very promi­nent rock spire that fills the sky just east of Palmer. But despite the impos­ing appear­ance of this moun­tain, the trail to its sum­mit requires no extensive  ...more

$370+ Fly-in Day Hike | $365+ Overnight

This fly-in wilder­ness lodge on a pri­vate lake in the Tal­keet­na Moun­tains is a great place to unplug. Choose from 3 pri­vate cab­ins and enjoy home-cooked meals served fam­i­ly style with oth­er guests. Take guid­ed walks to look for wildlife or wild berries, or just relax and enjoy the peace and bliss­ful views.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 10 miles

It’s not very often that peo­ple can see a glac­i­er in an untamed and remote loca­tion, far from any road or cruise-ship route. But if you feel capa­ble and con­fi­dent enough to climb a very rough trail up many ver­ti­cal feet of rocky ter­rain, then you might con­sid­er under­tak­ing the hike to Snow­bird Pass, locat­ed high in the Tal­keet­na Moun­tains just north of Hatch­er Pass. From this van­tage point you can look down the entire length of Snow­bird Glacier.  ...more

Season: May 13 to Sep 13 $125+ 4.5 hours

There’s still gold in Alas­ka, and you can learn from Denali Gold Tours what it takes to pan for the shiny flakes in pris­tine water near Trap­per Creek. Spend a half-day or full-day in the gor­geous Alas­ka coun­try­side with your guide, who will share old-timer pan­ning tech­niques and sto­ries from the dra­mat­ic days of Alaska’s gold rush.

In Sum­mer (May — Sep­tem­ber), The Denali Star Train ser­vices Anchor­age, Wasil­la, Tal­keet­na, Denali and Fair­banks. In Win­ter (Octo­ber — April) the Auro­ra Win­ter Train oper­ates as a flag top train between Anchor­age and Fair­banks. It stops here head­ing North on Sat­ur­day, and South on Sun­day. Hur­ri­cane Turn ser­vices areas near Tal­keet­na as a flagstop on a lim­it­ed sched­ule year-round.

Explore the expan­sive grav­el beds or mean­der along the mighty Matanus­ka-Susit­na Riv­er and link up with the Mat­su Riv­er Park trails, locat­ed in the trees to the west.

Season: May 01 to Sep 15 $95+ 4 to 6 hrs

Expe­ri­ence the thrill of walk­ing or climb­ing on a glac­i­er. The Matanus­ka is Alaska’s largest road-acces­si­ble glac­i­er, and it’s just 90 min­utes from Anchor­age, so it’s an easy way to get up close and per­son­al with these amaz­ing nat­ur­al won­ders. You don’t need to be expe­ri­enced in either activ­i­ty — just be in good shape and up for adven­ture. You’ll either walk around on the glac­i­er with cram­pons or learn how to use an ice axe and safe­ly work your  ...more

$225+ 3-9 hours

Explore the rivers of south­cen­tral Alas­ka on a float or fish­ing trip guid­ed by Hell Bent Fish­ing Char­ters. Raft along a scenic riv­er hid­ing away just min­utes off the road sys­tem. It fits per­fect­ly into a half day or full day, when you want to step out of the hus­tle and bus­tle of your vaca­tion and into authen­tic Alaska.

In Sum­mer (May — Sep­tem­ber), The Denali Star Train ser­vices Anchor­age, Wasil­la, Tal­keet­na, Denali and Fair­banks. In Win­ter (Octo­ber — April) the Auro­ra Win­ter Train oper­ates as a flag top train between Anchor­age and Fair­banks. It stops here head­ing North on Sat­ur­day, and South on Sunday.

Season: Year Round $99+ Summer | $169+ Winter 1 - 8 hours

Expe­ri­ence the excite­ment of rac­ing cham­pi­on sled dogs at the Alas­ka Mush­ing School, just 75 min­utes from Anchor­age. Get a professional’s insight into the mush­ing lifestyle as you ride behind a team of ener­getic sled dogs on trails con­nect­ed to the famous Idi­tar­od route. Bun­dle up and ride in com­fort, or brave the cold and dri­ve the team yourself!

Season: May 01 to Sep 30 $569+ 1.5 hrs

Stun­ning scenery, a thrilling ride and hap­py pup­pies: this tour out of the Anchor­age area offers an unbeat­able com­bi­na­tion of clas­sic Alas­ka expe­ri­ences that will delight fam­i­lies or — real­ly, any­body. Tak­ing a total of about 90 min­utes, and run­ning from mid-May to ear­ly Sep­tem­ber, this tour includes a Flight­see­ing round trip, a small friend­ly group envi­ron­ment, and plen­ty of one-on-one time with the dogs and their mushers.

Season: Jun 15 to Sep 14 $95+ 4 - 5 hrs

Tour work­ing farms in Palmer, Anchor­age, and Tal­keet­na. You’ll take guid­ed walks around the farms, touch­ing plants, breath­ing in the air and some­times even tast­ing some­thing fresh­ly picked. But there is also a lot of sto­ry­telling, learn­ing about the unique chal­lenges that Alas­ka farm­ers face. Some tours offer option to sam­ple oth­er local prod­ucts like Alas­ka beer and birch syrup.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 10 miles Elevation Gain: 1300 feet

The 5‑mile-long Eska Falls Trail is locat­ed a 2‑hour dri­ve north of Anchor­age in the moun­tains above the town of Sut­ton. And it leads to one of nature’s sym­met­ri­cal­ly framed won­ders — a 100-foot water­fall locat­ed at the end of a mile-long val­ley that’s flanked by two mas­sive sum­mits. This set­ting makes Eska Falls not so much a hike to a des­ti­na­tion as much as a hike to a presentation.

Season: Year Round $220+

Local­ly known as The Glac­i­er Land­ing Com­pa­ny,” TAT has been fly­ing climbers and sight­seers to the Alas­ka Range and Denali since 1947. Tal­keet­na Air Taxi fea­tures a cus­tom-designed fleet of planes, a ded­i­cat­ed cus­tomer ser­vice team, and a vari­ety of tours for every budget.

Difficulty: Moderate Elevation Gain: 3700 feet

Begin­ning a 1‑hour dri­ve north of Anchor­age in Gov­ern­ment Hill Recre­ation Area, Gov­ern­ment Peak Race Trail offers a fine oppor­tu­ni­ty for a hard work­out; it climbs some 3,700 ver­ti­cal feet in just 3 miles. Plus, this climb doesn’t include any extra­or­di­nary dan­gers. (A friend refers to one short ledge on this trail as death rock,” but she tends to exag­ger­ate.) Some sec­tions require spe­cial care to nego­ti­ate, but you won’t have to tra­verse any  ...more

$190+ 5 - 8 hours

Fish more of the hot spots with Phan­tom Char­ters, a fam­i­ly com­pa­ny run by folks who live to fish and bring a life­time of insid­er knowl­edge to your trip. Using spe­cial, shal­low-run­ning boats to get into hard-to-reach waters, they’ll take you to best riv­er fish­ing around Tal­keet­na. Wan­der the bank and cast for Sil­vers, Chums, Pinks, and Sock­eyes, or troll from behind the boat as well as shore fish for the Big Kings.

Difficulty: Difficult Elevation Gain: 3000 feet

Why Take This Hike This trail, locat­ed 90 min­utes north of Anchor­age just across the Matanus­ka Riv­er from down­town Palmer, makes no pre­tense about its pur­pose. Almost imme­di­ate­ly after leav­ing the park­ing area, it begins to climb straight up the steep west face of Lazy Moun­tain. For some 2,000 feet, there’s nary a switch­back or respite as the trail winds up to the sum­mit ridge. It’s a tru­ly breath­less work­out. The Details Out of Palmer,…  ...more

Season: Year Round $575 full day fishing, $1200+ all-inclusive multi-day packages 8 hrs - Multi-Days

The North­woods Lodge is a remote lodge where vis­i­tors can find them­selves in a 45 minute flight from Anchor­age. The lodge spe­cial­izes in guid­ed fish­ing, and guests can enjoy 8 to 10 hours of fish­ing a day if they choose. Guides help you spin or fly fish for tro­phy king salmon, sil­ver and sock­eye salmon, or res­i­dent rain­bow trout, arc­tic grayling and north­ern pike

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $99 per person

Go for a relax­ing 3‑hour float trip down gen­tle Wil­low Creek as you take in the gor­geous scenery of the Alaskan back­coun­try. Depart­ing from Pio­neer Lodge, just off the Parks High­way south of Tal­keet­na, you’ll board a raft with up to 6 oth­ers and an expert guide. Then just kick back, or grab a pad­dle if you like: You can expect easy-glid­ing Class I and II rapids on this gen­tle river.

Season: Jun 11 to Aug 20 $95+ 2.5 to 3 hrs

Expe­ri­ence a scenic float along a glacial riv­er. Just 90 min­utes from Anchor­age, the Matanus­ka Glac­i­er is Alaska’s largest road-acces­si­ble glac­i­er, and the water run­ning under­neath cre­ates a riv­er that’s per­fect for raft­ing. You’ll float down­stream for up to 2 hours, tak­ing in the scenery along the way — moun­tains, riv­er chan­nels, hill­sides, moraines — and look­ing out for wildlife. It’s fun for the whole fam­i­ly — any­one ages 5 and up can do this  ...more

Some 15,000 years ago, this glac­i­er reached anoth­er 50 miles west to the Palmer area. It now has a four-mile wide tow­er­ing face that you can walk right up to and touch. Keep an eye out for sum­mer­time ice-climbers at this most impres­sive road­side glac­i­er. Direc­tions: Head north from Anchor­age on the Glenn High­way. At mile 102, you can dri­ve down to Glac­i­er Park and pay a day fee (8882534480), then hike 15 – 20 min­utes to the face of  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

Get a real taste of Tal­keet­na by walk­ing a full loop around town. Start by strolling along the Susit­na Riv­er (down­stream) until you come to the end of the vil­lage airstrip. Then walk up D Street, which will bring you right back to Main Street. It’s a pop­u­lar route, so in the sum­mer you may well see peo­ple camp­ing, while in the win­ter peo­ple come here for snow­shoe­ing, ski­ing, dog mush­ing, and snowmachining.

Difficulty: Difficult

Lion’s Head is famous through­out the state. This rock out­crop­ping is the promi­nent fea­ture beside the Matanus­ka Glac­i­er and is fea­tured in mag­a­zines and adver­tise­ments all over Alas­ka. And you can hike it! You’ve got to be in good shape and ready for a scram­bling, one-hour climb. You’ll be reward­ed by great views, look­ing down a 2,000-foot cliff face to the glac­i­er. You’re panora­ma will include views of the Matanus­ka Riv­er, Cari­bou Creek with…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 2 miles

Two trails trav­el over the Mat-Su Col­lege lands; one from the col­lege and one from Snod­grass Hall. The Mat-Su Col­lege trail­head leads to a hilly loop and opens to beau­ti­ful views of Lazy Moun­tain, Twin Peaks, Boden­burge Butte, and Knik Glac­i­er — the best moun­tain views in the entire green­belt sys­tem. There are signs indi­cat­ing what you see in the dis­tance, as well as bench­es in a few areas. (Be pre­pared for con­struc­tion as the col­lege grows…  ...more

This annu­al win­ter fes­ti­val, in exis­tence for more than 50 years, is held on back-to-back week­ends at the end of Jan­u­ary and begin­ning of Feb­ru­ary. With the state’s biggest win­ter fire­works dis­play, $1,000 bin­go cash pots, sled dog races, tal­ent con­tests, foot races and fat-tire bike races, the fes­ti­val is a region­al draw and a fun place for trav­el­ers to see Alaskans cut loose.The car­ni­val kicks off with a din­ner at the com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter, where…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

Look­ing to break up your dri­ve with a jog or bike ride? This lit­tle-used, 2‑mile sec­tion of the for­mer Glenn High­way has lit­tle to no traf­fic. Rocks and shrubs are creep­ing onto the road sur­face in places. It’s qui­et, scenic, and hilly. The road­way is offi­cial­ly closed in the mid­dle but easily-passable. 

Difficulty: Moderate

This is part of the Chick­aloon-Knik-Nelchi­na Trail Sys­tem. The trail then goes to the left about a mile to a high cliff that over­looks Kings Riv­er. This trail gives hunters access to game coun­try which keeps the trail free of brush but makes mud holes mud­di­er. The first part of the trail is good for the whole fam­i­ly but gets more dif­fi­cult as it con­tin­ues on.

Difficulty: Moderate

Year round, multi­use trails that form a loop between the town of Tal­keet­na, the Tal­keet­na Riv­er and the rolling hills that lie east of town 

Just after Petersville (at Mile 34) the road gets rough, but you can head less than one mile to this turn­around where a trail” heads into Denali State Park. It’s used by four-wheel­ers and looks like a road, but it does turn into a trail. Hike it, away from the min­ing activ­i­ty and riv­er, and you’ll see Denali. This view was made famous by Alas­ka land­scape painter Syd­ney Lau­rence, who cre­at­ed the paint­ing from his near­by cabin.

Get a glimpe into the lives of Alaska’s ear­li­est pio­neers amidst arti­facts, maps, pic­tures and sto­ries depict­ing the rugged life of local gold min­ers, fur trap­pers, home­stead­ers and oth­er adven­tur­ers. The muse­um high­lights the his­to­ry of Trap­per Creek, Cache Creek Min­ing Dis­trict and Petersville Road. The Trap­per Creek area was set­tled in 1959 by a car­a­van of peo­ple who trav­eled from Michi­gan. Com­mon­ly referred to as the 59ers,” those who…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

The hik­ing here is most­ly flat with a few forest­ed hills, and there are nice views from the fields over­look­ing Matanus­ka Lake. For begin­ner hik­ers and bik­ers, this is the best place in the green­belt for easy walks.

Housed in a one-room log cab­in, this muse­um and vis­i­tor cen­ter packs a lot into its small space. Learn about Aht­na Athabas­can natives, explore min­ing and trap­ping his­to­ry, and check out the his­to­ry of the fas­ci­nat­ing Colony project — a New Deal pro­gram that brought 204 farm fam­i­lies to Alas­ka. You can also pick up tour books and maps, or ask the knowl­edge­able staff about area attrac­tions. The museum’s per­ma­nent col­lec­tion spans the development…  ...more

Palmer may look like it grew organ­i­cal­ly, like any oth­er town. But it was actu­al­ly designed by the gov­ern­ment as a planned agri­cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ty. In fact, Palmer was part of FDR’s New Deal Reset­tle­ment Projects dur­ing the Great Depres­sion: More than 200 fam­i­lies vol­un­teered to move to Alas­ka to try farm­ing in the Last Frontier!

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 12 miles

This amaz­ing trail sys­tem was start­ed by min­ers 50 years ago, and today they are main­tained by Sheep Moun­tain Lodge Sheep Moun­tain Lodge own­er Zack Steer. Zoom down Thriller on your moun­tain bike, enjoy a pic­nic with a view at the top of Corkscrew, search for a geo­cache site or come berry pick­ing in the fall. There are 12 miles of main­tained trails, which are groomed for cross-coun­try ski­ing in win­ter. Peak blue­ber­ry sea­son is from Aug. 15…  ...more

Opened in 1923 to accom­mo­date trav­el­ers on the new Alas­ka Rail­road, the small inn found fame (or noto­ri­ety) quick­ly: Pres­i­dent War­ren G. Hard­ing came for lunch, and died just a few days lat­er. Today, the hotel is com­prised of six recent­ly ren­o­vat­ed rooms as well as a bar and live music venue. You’ll hear every­thing from jazz and folk to open mic nights and seri­ous rock-n-roll. At the very least, do a walk-through to enjoy some local col­or and…  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate

The Tal­keet­na Mail Trail and Cen­tral Trail are year round, mul­ti-use trails that run north south between Wil­low Creek and the Kash­wit­na Riv­er. The trails were orig­i­nal­ly used for haul­ing mail, but recent log­ging has opened new access and short dead-end trails lead­ing both east and west. Some of the trail cross­es wet areas that are sen­si­tive to heavy use. Plans are under­way to hard­en or relo­cate por­tions of the trail to bet­ter accom­mo­date year…  ...more

This small his­toric cab­in was built in 1930 in the Nor­we­gian style — with hand-hewn logs and lock-lap notch­es with­out nails or spikes — and today it’s owned by local res­i­dents Tom and Margie Waite. The Indi­an fra­grance nag cham­pa wafts over you as you browse Tal­keet­na’s most orig­i­nal col­lec­tion of native art­work; Margie’s Aleut ances­try has giv­en her great con­nec­tions and insight into native cul­ture. Look up on the walls and you’ll see a squirrel…  ...more

Be care­ful, it’s easy to miss this turn-off as you drop down the hill, but look out for the sign Cari­bou Creek Recre­ation­al Area.” This sel­dom-used camp­ground is a qui­et place to camp, away from high­way noise. It has fire rings and pic­nic tables, and there’s a trail to the creek. It’s a one-mile walk to the water. It’s a nice stream and it’s part of the State Recre­ation­al Gold Min­ing Area. So bring a pan and try your luck!

Browse some of Alaska’s best hand­craft­ed art in this sum­mer­time out­door mar­ket. The artists man their own booths, which gives you a chance to chat with peo­ple like Dora Miller, from Wil­low, Alas­ka, who makes beau­ti­ful jew­el­ry from Alaskan stone. The mar­ket is oper­at­ed by the Denali Arts Council.

You’ll get stun­ning views of Knik Glac­i­er, the Knik Riv­er, and the Chugach moun­tain range. Watch for eagles, either con­vers­ing on the sand bars or soar­ing overhead.

At the Gov­ern­ment Peak Recre­ation area you will find an exten­sive trail sys­tem for nordic ski­ing, walk­ing, hik­ing, fat tire bik­ing, and moun­tain bik­ing. The newest addi­tion is a Chalet that is avail­able to warm win­ter vis­i­tors. It’s also avail­able for rent.

Explore its many branch­es and beau­ti­ful views. You’ll also be reward­ed with flat, gen­tle hik­ing, all with gor­geous views.

Danc­ing Leaf Gallery. Own­ers Sta­cy and Troy Smi­ley built this shop new for 2011! The large build­ing fea­tures Sta­cy’s sig­na­ture batiks and silk screens done right here in Tal­keet­na from her own linoleum block print. Sta­cy is also known for her mixed media jew­el­ry, like neclaces of a neck­lace of pearl, glass, wood, stone and metal.

As this shop’s name would sug­gest, you’ll find beads of all kinds here: glass, ceram­ic, and crys­tal, just for starters. Own­er Beth Valen­tine grew up here in Tal­keet­na and trav­els to exot­ic places in search of beads with beau­ty and style. She also car­ries jew­el­ry, hand­bags, hats, plaques, and glass­ware from all over the world; it’s all locat­ed in a cute log cab­in with a sun­burst pat­tern locat­ed on the right as you enter town.

You’ll real­ly get a feel for Tal­keet­na in this lit­tle shop, since locals own and run it. You can see exclu­sive items by Tal­keet­na pho­tog­ra­ph­er Jim Trump and scrimshaw artist Mary Barr. And don’t miss the unusu­al ear­rings from a Tal­keet­na outdoorsman/​artisan; they’re made of beaver teeth and oth­er unique materials.

Ded­i­cat­ed to the tech­nol­o­gy that opened the Last Fron­tier, this muse­um is a gearhead’s dream. And it’s pret­ty darned inter­est­ing even if you aren’t into trains, planes or heavy machin­ery. Set on 20 acres, you can wan­der through old train cars, around com­mer­cial fish­ing boats and cars and explore old farm and oil machin­ery. Or head inside and learn about Alas­ka Pio­neer­ing women, gold min­ing and avi­a­tion. Only four miles from down­town Wasilla,…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

This trail­head is just 100 yards from Matanus­ka Lake (the area’s most pop­u­lar lake), and is wheel­chair-acces­si­ble down to the lake and the fish­ing docks — it’s a great walk in the woods, past prime water­fowl habitat. 

His­to­ry, fun, and mas­sive por­tions of food come togeth­er at this insti­tu­tion, which was built over 3 years start­ing in 1914. Aside from stop­ping by for a bite to eat, you can book accom­mo­da­tions at the Tal­keet­na Road­house. Choose from a vari­ety of cozy rooms in the main road­house and wake up the smell of fresh baked goods from the Kitchen in the morn­ing. Or, for a more pri­vate expe­ri­ence, book one of the cab­ins out back or the Muse­um Apartment  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

Just past Archangel Road, you will see a pull­out on the left. In the win­ter months, this is an extreme­ly pop­u­lar spot among back­coun­try skiers and snow­board­ers. How­ev­er, this steep, unmain­tained freestyle is not rec­om­mend­ed for novices. Dur­ing the sum­mer months the trails are used for moun­tain biking. 

Red Shirt Cab­in 3 cel­e­brates the ancient spir­it of Red Shirt Lake as a gath­er­ing place. The lake once fea­tured large salmon runs and sum­mer camps for Dena’ina Native groups, and still hosts pri­vate cab­ins on its south­ern half. The cab­in may be per­fect for large par­ties in quest of lake action, a plat­form for those who want stren­u­ous days of pad­dling, fish­ing, swim­ming, and motor­ing fol­lowed by rous­ing evening campfires.

Difficulty: Moderate

A win­ter trail sys­tem con­sist­ing of a series of loops that allow dog mush­ers (and oth­er non­mo­tor­ized trail users) to trav­el 3, 5, 7, 10, 12 or 16 miles depend­ing on the route one takes. The trails tra­verse large swamps and Black Spruce forests and are gen­er­al­ly wide enough for one dog sled (3 – 5’). In some places along the trails the tracks are wide enough for two sleds to pass. The trails must be trav­eled in a spe­cif­ic direc­tion to avoid…  ...more

The house is an orig­i­nal Colony Farm House” built express­ly for the New Deal reset­tle­ment project spon­sored in 1935 by the Roo­sevelt Admin­is­tra­tion. Vis­i­tors will learn the his­to­ry of the Colony project, often first hand, from descen­dants of the orig­i­nal colonists who staff the house and serve as tour guides. The house is fur­nished ca. 1935 – 45, dis­play­ing some orig­i­nal fur­nish­ings sup­plied by Sears and Roe­buck for the…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

This is the best way to see the Mat-Su Val­ley from a bird’s-eye view with­out get­ting in an airplane.The trail leads through cot­ton­wood trees until the end of the tree­line. Moose, bears, Dall sheep and Ptarmi­gan are seen along the trail occasionally. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 4 miles

The trail begins at the end of Archangel road. It mean­ders through alders and brush, gain­ing ele­va­tion slow­ly at first. Even­tu­al­ly it will lead you to a cab­in up in the alpine meadows.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 3 miles

This is a short day hike, but a fan­tas­tic fish­ing spot. There are many lake trout, grayling and white­fish. It is one of the best fish­ing spots in the area. Fox, bear, moose and cari­bou are often seen in this area and there are good berryp­ick­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties along the trail. 

Difficulty: Moderate

Choose between four hik­ing trails on the McKin­ley Princess prop­er­ty, from easy to stren­u­ous, and explore the Alaskan wilder­ness, with great views and wildlife.

Just south of the Cari­bou Creek bridge near mile mark­er 104 on the Glenn High­way in the shad­ow of the Lion’s Head rock for­ma­tion, look for the turnoff for the Cari­bou Creek Recre­ation­al Min­ing Area. You are not going to get fab­u­lous­ly rich here and be the next star of the TV real­i­ty show Gold Rush, but you do have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to car­ry a gold pan and shov­el, hike the steep half-mile-long trail down to the creek, and pan for gold.

What was it like to be an Alaskan sci­en­tist back in the 1940s? This site, on the south side of Palmer’s down­town, near Gulka­na and E. Fire­weed streets, will give you a pret­ty good idea. Back then, this two-sto­ry cement build­ing, the eight sim­ple cot­tages, and the arbore­tum were built by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Fair­banks and used by researchers study­ing how to increase pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in cold-weath­er crops.

Difficulty: Moderate

How to get There­Ac­cess to the Lake Lucille Park Trail Sys­tem is locat­ed at the north end of Endeav­or Road in Wasil­la. From Wasil­la — go south on the Knik-Goose Bay Road, 2 miles from Wasil­la take a right on Endeav­or Street and fol­low it for 12 mile to the park entrance and park­ing areas.General Descrip­tion­Lake Lucille Park has approx­i­mate­ly 1.6 miles (2.5 kilo­me­ters) of trails built around the perime­ter of the park and con­nect­ing the athletic…  ...more

If you want to climb Denali (Mt. McKin­ley), this is where you have to come to get your per­mit. Not a climber? Vis­it­ing is still a fas­ci­nat­ing les­son in moun­taineer­ing and Denal­i’s his­to­ry — from inter­pre­tive pro­grams to a tit­il­lat­ing video about climb­ing that shows through­out the day. The rus­tic and beau­ti­ful build­ing also hosts a per­ma­nent col­lec­tion of pho­tos of the Alas­ka Range. Pho­tog­ra­ph­er, explor­er, and sci­en­tist Brad­ford Wash­burn is…  ...more

Come try your luck at ice fish­ing dur­ing the month-long Mat-Su Val­ley Pike Der­by. Drill a hole and start jig­ging for pike, a large inva­sive species with a vora­cious appetite that grows to impres­sive lengths (win­ning fish are close to four feet long). Host­ed by orga­ni­za­tions from the town of Hous­ton, the der­by fea­tures prizes for the most fish caught, as well as the longest, heav­i­est, short­est, and light­est pike. The fish are cooked at the…  ...more

Tal­keet­na may have one of Alaska’s best adult play­grounds, as it hosts moun­tain climbers and adven­tur­ers from all over the world, but that doesn’t mean kids don’t fit in, too. A group of moth­ers got togeth­er in 2008 and built this play­ground, wor­thy of a fron­tier town. Con­struct­ed from rough-hewn tim­bers, the play area incor­po­rates mazes, cab­ins, swings, slides, and even art from local children. 

Bald Lake Cab­in is a great choice for peo­ple who want to stay at an Alas­ka wilder­ness cab­in on a pris­tine lake, but don’t want to trav­el far to get there. On the hill­side over­look­ing iso­lat­ed Bald Lake, the cab­in offers seclu­sion and pri­va­cy only a short walk from your vehi­cle. It’s a best of both worlds” kind of place — where you can spend the day explor­ing a vir­tu­al­ly pri­vate lake with inter­est­ing bays, or quick­ly dash back to your vehi­cle to  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

This trail fol­lows Trou­ble­some Creek .3 miles down to where it enters the broad, glacial grav­el bar of the Chuli­tan Riv­er. Mar­vel at the Ent-like Grandad­dy Cot­ton­wood, just five min­utes down the trail. The trail’s end has been swept away by floods, so it can be con­fus­ing, but the adven­tur­ous can keep going onto the Chulit­na’s grav­el bar to look for wildlife, tracks, or views of Denali. The large-leaved plants along the trail are Cow Parsnip and  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

This is one of four trails that lead to the high Kesu­gi Ridge along the Parks High­way about an hour north of Tal­keet­na. The trail begins in a forest­ed area and ends up above the tree line look­ing down on muli­ple drainages. The view at the top is won­der­ful, so bring a cam­era! It takes about 2 hours on aver­age to get above treeline. 

This log cab­in with a pitched roof and panoram­ic win­dows sits on a bluff beside the high­way and is easy to miss. But be sure to stop in for advice on your vis­it to the Mat-Su. There’s an infor­ma­tion­al video run­ning inside, plus a bevy of vol­un­teers who have at least 60 years com­bined expe­ri­ence in the area. Where should I eat din­ner? What tour should I take for wildlife view­ing? Where’s the best camp­ground? They help­ful locals here will help…  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate

Crooked Lake Trail con­nects the Big Lake area with trails to the west and north. The trail heads west from Papoose Twins Lake Road and con­nects with the Iron Dog Trail, which then con­tin­ues on to the Susit­na Riv­er. The trail is approx­i­mate­ly 10 miles long from Papoose Twins Lake Road to the Iron Dog Trail. The trails tra­verse large swamps and ridges of mixed for­est. Crth­west for about 5 miles then turn­ing south­west for 7 ½ miles where it…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 4 miles

This is the south­ern­most trail that leads to Kesu­gi Ridge. On aver­age, it takes a hik­er 4 hours to get above the tree­line. This trail is often closed due to flood­ing as well as bear activ­i­ty for the safe­ty of its hik­ers. Please check with Alaska’s Depart­ment of Nat­ur­al Resources to make sure that the trail is open to hik­ers before start­ing this trip.

Difficulty: Easy

This trail is in Inde­pen­dence Mine State His­tor­i­cal Park and is a self-guid­ed hike. This is one of many trails sur­round­ing Inde­pen­dence Mine. 

Difficulty: Easy

This is part of the his­toric Chick­aloon-Knik-Nelchi­na Trail Sys­tem and trav­els high to show hik­ers beau­ti­ful sights. It starts in thick for­est, but grad­u­al­ly climbs past lakes into wide open spaces. It used to be used to sup­ply gold min­ers with equipment. 

Don’t miss the old trap­per’s cab­in at Byers Lake. Most Sour­doughs — that means old-time Alaskans — don’t even know it’s there. Hid­den in trees along the lakeshore trail, the old Bee­man cab­in stands as a reminder of sim­pler times. Peek in the win­dows and imag­ine liv­ing there all win­ter. Now part of Denali State Park, it’s an easy 10-minute walk from the main park­ing lot.

Sur­prise! This bridge over the Susit­na Riv­er appears with­out warn­ing, so if you want to stop and see this huge drainage, slow down and pull off the road at either end. Alaskans call it the Big Su. We fish it, pad­dle it, and snow machine its frozen braids. Bush pilots even nav­i­gate by this riv­er. The Susit­na Riv­er winds its way over 313 miles of South­cen­tral Alas­ka; this old rail­road bridge cross­es the water on the east­ern edge of Denali…  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate

This trail fol­lows an old rail­road bed and is a great walk from down­town Palmer, with views of the Matanus­ka Riv­er and Chugach Range. Arrange for a shut­tle at Moose Creek if you want to make this a one-way, 6.1‑mile trip, to Moose Creek State Recre­ation Way­side Moose Creek State Recre­ation Wayside. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

This trail is the north­ern­most trail that pro­vides access to Kesu­gi Ridge. On a clear day, Lit­tle Coal Creek Trail takes you to amaz­ing views of Denali (Mt. McKin­ley). It also gives you those views in the short­est amount of time, about 1.5 hours, of any of the access trails to Kesu­gi Ridge.

Distance: 4 miles

Beau­ti­ful ponds, water­falls, and moun­tain scenery make this a worth­while hike. Many birds, Arc­tic Ground Squir­rels and even a few ducks can be sight­ed enroute. The trail ends at Lane Hut at the end of the Val­ley. Extra explor­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties are everywhere! 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 15 miles Elevation Gain: 1000 feet

This trail leads to numer­ous mines in the area. This is a great place to explore old min­ing sites and get some pic­tures, as well as gold pan. This is a good day hike and can be long or short depend­ing on what you want to do. Be sure to take the whole fam­i­ly on this one!

It’s hard to miss this shop — it’s the biggest log cab­in on Main Street. And the fam­i­ly who runs it knows Tal­keet­na well — they came here in 1959. Inside is a wide vari­ety of gifts: totem poles, gold-nugget jew­el­ry, quilts, Denali-themed trin­kets, and moose nugget lip balm (called lip chap” in rur­al Alas­ka). Woman also love the red hat ladies dis­play,” a nook filled with hats/​boas, high heels, jew­el­ry and oth­er red hat” style gifts. And it’s…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 5 miles

2019 UPDATE: Trail, day use area, kayak tours & rentals, and pub­lic use cab­ins are open, but the main camp­ground will be tem­porar­i­ly closed begin­ning in 2019 due to the dan­ger posed by trees infest­ed with spruce-bark bee­tles. Rot­ting trees have been top­pling. State parks plans to reopen the camp­ground after the haz­ardous trees have been removed. This is one of four trails that lead to Kesu­gi Ridge. From the Denali State Park camp­ground at  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

Very few hik­ers use this trail­head (most opt for the Matanus­ka Lakes Trail­head), but it’s a good walk. It’s also very pop­u­lar for anglers. Be pre­pared for a rut­ted grav­el access road, which may not be plowed in winter. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 4 miles Elevation Gain: 1000 feet

On this trail, sum­mer hik­ers get an impres­sion of the land much like what the old min­ers got. The trail is very brushy in areas, but the trail is not well-marked. It is a great ski trail in winter. 

Locat­ed on the world-famous Idi­tar­od Trail and housed in one of the two remain­ing build­ings from Knik’s orig­i­nal town­site, the Knik Muse­um fea­tures the Sled Dog Mush­er’s Hall of Fame on the sec­ond floor. The muse­um build­ing was pre­vi­ous­ly used as a pool hall and road­house, and now con­tains a col­lec­tion of cloth­ing, dish­es, fur­ni­ture and arti­facts from Knik’s ear­li­er days. Oper­at­ed by the Wasil­la-Knik-Wil­low Creek Historical…  ...more

Peace-and-qui­et meets easy-access at this coun­try-style B&B on 10 acres in the heart of the Mat-Su Valley.The Gar­den Gate’s own­er, Karen Har­ris, start­ed the B&B back in 2002 when she opened her own home to guests— and she has been grad­u­al­ly expand­ing the B&B ever since, with sev­en cot­tages and a duplex-style build­ing in addi­tion to the main house.

Descrip­tion­Lo­cat­ed between the Chugach and Tal­keet­na Moun­tain ranges, The Alpine His­tor­i­cal Park pro­vides com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, as well as vis­i­tors from far or near, a look back in time to under­stand the her­itage and cul­tures of the ear­ly set­tlers of this area. The Park is a place for fam­i­ly and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, often being used for gath­er­ings, par­ties, busi­ness events, com­mu­ni­ty pic­nics and many oth­er events, as there is no com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter in…  ...more

Ide­al for those pad­dling, boat­ing, fish­ing, hik­ing as well as those look­ing for seclu­sion away from the lake’s more pop­u­lar routes for ski­ing and snow­mo­bil­ing. The cab­in faces the sun­set and may be the per­fect locale to string a ham­mock for long sum­mer after­noons lis­ten­ing to for­est birds.

Difficulty: Moderate

This trail is part of the his­toric Chick­aloon-Knik-Nelchi­na Trail Sys­tem and, in the ear­ly sum­mer, almost always has Dall sheep birthing low on the moun­tain sides. There are moose here all the time. Be care­ful when cross­ing Boul­der Creek.

In the 1950s, an Anchor­age fam­i­ly worked tire­less­ly at their dream of build­ing a ski resort here at the base of Gun­sight Moun­tain. They built a small chalet and erect­ed a rope tow. But financ­ing was always a prob­lem. Busi­ness did not boom. Today, the chalet is all that’s left of their efforts.

The tiny town of Hous­ton triples its pop­u­la­tion (all the way up to 6,000!) dur­ing this one-day fam­i­ly-friend­ly blowout on the third Sat­ur­day in August. And the best part is that everything’s free! Kids’ games and boun­cy rooms, dunk tanks, fish­ing ponds, slides, and a BBQ…it’s all cov­ered by the folks of Hous­ton. The block par­ty-style fes­ti­val, which has been going on for at least 30 years, was start­ed for kids, and they’ve kept the focus on…  ...more

Right next to the Tal­keet­na His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety, this orig­i­nal trap­pers cab­in” gives you an inte­ri­or look at traps, antique tins, a wash­tub, and furs, offer­ing a sense of how these pio­neers lived. And Olé is quite the char­ac­ter: he came to Alas­ka in 1916 and worked as a log­ger, sur­vey­or, and gold min­er. His grand­kids still attend the local schools.

Difficulty: Easy

This is a great hike for a fam­i­ly pic­nic. This is part of the Chick­aloon-Knik-Nelchi­na Trail System.This trail cov­ers fair­ly flat ter­rain through big cot­ton­wood trees.

Difficulty: Easy

At its peak, the Inde­pen­dence hard-rock gold mine was home to 206 work­ers and 16 fam­i­lies who lived high above tree line. Dig­ging and blast­ing, these work­ers recov­ered 140,000 ounces of gold before the mine shut down in the wake of World War II. There are 1.5 miles of paved walk­ways through­out the site, with infor­ma­tion­al plac­ards for a self-guid­ed tour. 

12′ x 28′ road acces­si­ble cab­in that sleeps up to 6

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

This one-mile trail around Reflec­tions Lake offers easy walk­ing year-round. Come with snow­shoes, skis, or ice skates dur­ing the win­ter months, or iden­ti­fy wild­flow­ers and for­est birds in sum­mer. Most­ly wood­ed, the trail does open up to views of the sur­round­ing moun­tains at one end of the lake, where the large for­est gives way to small­er trees and grass­es. Dawn and dusk here can be stun­ning, with sun­set col­ors play­ing across the water and on…  ...more

Locat­ed on an isth­mus between a shel­tered cove and the main body of a vast back­coun­try lake, Red Shirt Lake Cab­in 2 offers a basic, easy-to-heat base for explor­ing 1,186-acre Red Shirt Lake regard­less of weath­er. It gives a small par­ty no-fuss access to water, fuel and ski trails — a cozy space to relax when the day is done and the light begins its dying slant.

Difficulty: Easy

Locat­ed north of Wasil­la about 45 min­utes on the west side of the Parks Hwy. Lakes are all con­nect­ed with trails, and make for a great day of canoe­ing. They can also be skied in the win­ter and camp­grounds are avail­able as well. This hike can only be done in win­ter or the lakes will not be frozen enough to walk on.

Learn about this rur­al town’s native, gold min­ing, and avi­a­tion his­to­ry in this muse­um housed in a lit­tle red school house, as well as a num­ber of small­er, old rail­road build­ings. You’ll find out about ice roads and hors­es wear­ing snow shoes, how air­planes took over from trac­tors, as well as infor­ma­tion about bear traps, native arti­facts, and how folks sur­vived the harsh win­ters of the Susit­na Val­ley. Also, see some of the orig­i­nal trappers’…  ...more

Mush­ing in Alas­ka is often a fam­i­ly activ­i­ty, with entire house­holds devot­ed to the feed­ing, train­ing, and care of dog ken­nels that can house more than 100 canines! Teenagers from these fam­i­lies, plus oth­er teens who have stum­bled into the world of mush­ing, com­pete in a 160-mile race the week­end pri­or to the start of the Idi­tar­od. It’s a small field, usu­al­ly under 15 peo­ple, and the race takes under 24 hours. You can catch the start of the…  ...more

Difficulty: Difficult

If you have some seri­ous time and seri­ous ener­gy, take an adven­ture: hike the 20 miles out the Chase Trail to see what’s left of a lux­u­ry hotel built as a lay­over for the rail­road jour­ney between Seward and Fairbanks.

Difficulty: Easy

Stand on the beach at Tal­keet­na River­front Park and you may notice folks fish­ing on the point across the riv­er. You can get there too. Start by walk­ing up the Tal­keet­na riv­er and cross­ing over the mas­sive rail­road bridge. Imag­ine your­self back in the 1920s; Tal­keet­na was the most pop­u­lous city in Alas­ka, and the Rail­road com­mis­sion chose it to be the head­quar­ters for build­ing the rail line between Seward and Anchorage.

Home to a lit­tle gro­cery store and the West Rib Brew Pub, Nagleys also has inter­net access and a few camp­ing sup­plies upstairs. There’s a rich his­to­ry here: Nagleys sup­plied min­ers and trap­pers start­ing in 1921; you’ll see the antique store items lin­ing the walls. Rumor has it that the orig­i­nal own­er, Horace Nagley, kept the store open for busi­ness while rolling the build­ing on logs down Main Street to its cur­rent location.

Stop into this small log cab­in near the end of Main Street Tal­keet­na to find hand­craft­ed Alaskan made goods. You’ll find prod­ucts rang­ing from Dev­il’s Club salves, goat milk soaps, organ­ic teas & herbs, and stoneware pot­tery made right here in the Upper Susit­na Val­ley. They’re also the first com­pa­ny in Alas­ka to offer a line of Hemp Seed Oil balms, soaps, and oils. 

Alaskans love win­ter recre­ation, and this race is a tes­ta­ment to the cold-weath­er fanat­ics of the far north. Fol­low­ing por­tions of the orig­i­nal Idi­tar­od trail and the frozen Susit­na Riv­er, this 100-mile race is open to bik­ers, run­ners, and cross-coun­try skiers. Set in Feb­ru­ary on President’s Day week­end, the rac­ers deal with 13 hours of dark­ness and what­ev­er the win­ter ele­ments might be that week: minus-20 degree temps, snow, wind, or maybe…  ...more

The Offi­cial Race Start begins in the town of Wil­low on the first Sun­day in March. Come see the mush­ers head out on The Last Great Race” and get a feel for a small-town Alaskan win­ter. The race begins at 2 p.m., with mush­ers leav­ing the gate every two min­utes. Sev­er­al thou­sand fans show up to cheer on the 60 to 70 dog teams; ven­dors sell­ing food and sou­venirs set up at the Wil­low Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ter. There’s usu­al­ly a shut­tle from Wasil­la, and…  ...more

12′ x 16′ cab­in on shore of Byers Lake. Sleeps 6

Difficulty: Moderate

With flat stretch­es and steep hills (that are groomed in win­ter), this trail is very pop­u­lar with moun­tain bik­ers, trail run­ners, and cross-coun­try skiers. It was built on land­fill, so as it expands, these trails will change. Most of it is rolling for­est that has cov­ered the grav­el­ly moraines left by retreat­ing glaciers.

Difficulty: Easy

Difficulty: Easy

This is a wheel­chair-acces­si­ble trail that is for walk­ers. This is not a chal­leng­ing run­ning trail. The trail offers a beau­ti­ful panora­ma of Three sis­ters, Pio­neer Peak, Knik Glac­i­er, Boden­burg Butte, and the Tal­keet­nas. The obser­va­tion deck over­looks Oke­son Pond. 

Difficulty: Easy

A win­ter trail sys­tem con­sist­ing of two north-south trails and one east-west route that allow snow­ma­chin­ers, dog mush­ers and skiers to trav­el the area lying north of Petersville Road and west of the Parks High­way. The com­bined mileage of the trails is over 50 miles.

This hand­some, well-sea­soned log cab­in is the post­card for your pub­lic use cab­in dreams. If they filmed Alas­ka Pub­lic Use Cab­ins — The Movie,” the pro­duc­ers would have a hard time find­ing a bet­ter place than James Lake for the setting.

The Don Shel­don Moun­tain House may be the world’s most spec­tac­u­lar­ly sit­u­at­ed cab­in. Perched on a 4.9 acre rock and ice cov­ered out­crop locat­ed at the 5,800 foot lev­el, in the mid­dle of the Don Shel­don Amphithe­ater just above the Ruth Gorge, it is sur­round­ed on all sides by tow­er­ing gran­ite walls and glac­i­ers flow­ing off the flanks of Denali, less than 10 miles away. It’s used pri­mar­i­ly from March through Octo­ber by pho­tog­ra­phers, skiiers,  ...more

14′ x 16′ Cab­in on Byers Lake that sleeps up to 6.

March is the month to get out­side. The days are longer and the weath­er is start­ing to warm, but win­ter still has its icy grip. To avoid going stir crazy or for some good, clean Alaskan win­ter fun, head north to Trap­per Creek for the Cab­in Fever Reliev­er. Held the sec­ond Sat­ur­day in March in this pic­turesque small town (there are great views of Denali), the cel­e­bra­tion includes a pan­cake break­fast, a raf­fle, cross-coun­try ski races, games,  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate

Flathorn Lake Trail is approx­i­mate­ly 21 miles long and tra­vers­es the vast wet­lands of the Susit­na Flats Game Refuge and rolling hills of the Fish Creek water­shed. The trail allows snow­ma­chin­ers, dog mush­ers and skiers to trav­el from the Point MacKen­zie area to the Susit­na Sta­tion’ on the Susit­na Riv­er. The trail cross­es the Lit­tle Susit­na Riv­er, through a maze of frozen swamps and ponds, along Fish Creek, across Flathorn Lake before heading…  ...more

The camp­ground is pret­ty open, since bark bee­tles killed the big, old spruce trees. The camp­sites attract RVers and campers, and each of the 24 sites has a fire ring and pic­nic table. There’s potable water at a hand pump. 

These two almost iden­ti­cal cab­ins (only 200 feet apart) are aimed toward adven­tur­ers and fam­i­lies who want to include both pad­dling and hik­ing in their dai­ly adven­tures. They offer direct access to two lakes as well as the park’s trail sys­tem. Though rel­a­tive­ly close, each cab­in is col­ored by a slight­ly dif­fer­ent atmos­phere. Lynx 2’s porch faces the sun­set, with good after­noon sun and a view of Lynx Lake. It feels open, more exposed. Lynx 3  ...more

The scenic, essen­tial 323-mile-long Parks High­way con­nects Anchor­age and Fair­banks, thread­ing its way past some of Alaska’s most icon­ic Alaskan areas, includ­ing Denali Nation­al Park and Mt. McKin­ley. But we’ll take you far beyond what you can see from the road. We’ll also show you some of the hid­den gems you wouldn’t find on your own, like an old trapper’s cab­in that offers a glimpse into Alaska’s past. We’ll let you in on cool trails to…  ...more

For lake­side adven­tures of all kinds — with canoe trails, pike fish­ing and wildlife view­ing near­by — try this 22,500-acre mul­ti-use park out­side Wil­low, fea­tur­ing 131 lakes and a net­work of trails. Its 13 pub­lic use cab­ins range from places that offer motor­boat access, to vehi­cle park­ing, to true wilder­ness refuges reach­able only by canoe or ski trail. Win­ter cre­ates a snow-sport mec­ca for cab­in users too — ski­ing, Nordic skat­ing, snow bik­ing and  ...more

This riverbed trail fol­lows the Knik Riv­er towards the Knik Riv­er Glac­i­er, with Pio­neer Peak loom­ing above. Hike this trail and you’ll under­stand why Pio­neer Peak is called The Watch­er.” Head east towards the Chugach Moun­tains, mean­while, and you’ll get a glimpse of the Knik Glac­i­er, glit­ter­ing 20 miles in the distance. 

Trans­port your­self to the Alas­ka of the past in this muse­um and his­toric town site. Check out min­ing digs as you trav­el down stairs paint­ed like an old mine shaft. Then learn about the hard-rock gold min­ing in Hatch­er Pass dur­ing the 1930s. View arti­facts from Athabas­cans, learn about dog mush­ing, and walk through a his­toric dentist’s office. The main muse­um build­ing, once a com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter for bas­ket­ball games and church ser­vices, now tells…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

Part of the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge, this trail mean­ders through tidal flats and wet­lands. High­lights are great views of the moun­tains sur­round­ing Palmer (Pio­neer Peak, the Chugach and Tal­keet­na ranges) and excel­lent bird watching. 

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Points of Interest View All

Vis­i­ble out­side the win­dows of the Mat-Su Con­ven­tion and Vis­i­tors Bureau, this state wildlife refuge is the result of the 1964 earth­quake. Lit­er­al­ly overnight, the land dropped by 6 to 20 feet; hay fields and pas­ture­land became salt flats and marsh­land. Once home to cows and grains, the land is now prime habi­tat for moose, birds, and fish. Some 20,000 acres are pro­tect­ed in the refuge, which is a pop­u­lar recre­ation and wildlife-viewing…  ...more

Where else can you walk to the end of Main Street and find your­self at the con­flu­ence of three wild rivers, over­look­ing a 20,000-foot peak? Close to down­town, this large, riv­er-cen­tered park offers wide open, untouched spaces, along with great panoram­ic view of the Alas­ka Range.

In the Tal­keet­na Moun­tains between the towns of Wil­low and Palmer, Hatch­er Pass is a local favorite for recre­ation or a scenic dri­ve. Hike in alpine tun­dra dot­ted with wild­flow­ers and ptarmi­gan, ski fresh, deep pow­der, or vis­it Inde­pen­dence Mine His­tor­i­cal State Park.

In Sum­mer (May — Sep­tem­ber), The Denali Star Train ser­vices Anchor­age, Wasil­la, Tal­keet­na, Denali and Fair­banks. In Win­ter (Octo­ber — April) the Auro­ra Win­ter Train oper­ates as a flag top train between Anchor­age and Fair­banks. It stops here head­ing North on Sat­ur­day, and South on Sunday.

Some 15,000 years ago, this glac­i­er reached anoth­er 50 miles west to the Palmer area. It now has a four-mile wide tow­er­ing face that you can walk right up to and touch. Keep an eye out for sum­mer­time ice-climbers at this most impres­sive road­side glac­i­er. Direc­tions: Head north from Anchor­age on the Glenn High­way. At mile 102, you can dri­ve down to Glac­i­er Park and pay a day fee (8882534480), then hike 15 – 20 min­utes to the face of  ...more

Sam­ple deli­cious syrup and sweets made from birch trees — like maple but not maple ‑at Kahilt­na Birch­works in Tal­keet­na — the world’s largest pro­duc­er of birch syrup. Stop in or shop online to expe­ri­ence this unique, local spin on a tempt­ing treat. Locat­ed at mile 1.1 of the Tal­keet­na Spur Rd, just off the Parks Highway

Just after Petersville (at Mile 34) the road gets rough, but you can head less than one mile to this turn­around where a trail” heads into Denali State Park. It’s used by four-wheel­ers and looks like a road, but it does turn into a trail. Hike it, away from the min­ing activ­i­ty and riv­er, and you’ll see Denali. This view was made famous by Alas­ka land­scape painter Syd­ney Lau­rence, who cre­at­ed the paint­ing from his near­by cabin.

Difficulty: Easy

Stand on the beach at Tal­keet­na River­front Park and you may notice folks fish­ing on the point across the riv­er. You can get there too. Start by walk­ing up the Tal­keet­na riv­er and cross­ing over the mas­sive rail­road bridge. Imag­ine your­self back in the 1920s; Tal­keet­na was the most pop­u­lous city in Alas­ka, and the Rail­road com­mis­sion chose it to be the head­quar­ters for build­ing the rail line between Seward and Anchorage.

Palmer may look like it grew organ­i­cal­ly, like any oth­er town. But it was actu­al­ly designed by the gov­ern­ment as a planned agri­cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ty. In fact, Palmer was part of FDR’s New Deal Reset­tle­ment Projects dur­ing the Great Depres­sion: More than 200 fam­i­lies vol­un­teered to move to Alas­ka to try farm­ing in the Last Frontier!

Just south of the Cari­bou Creek bridge near mile mark­er 104 on the Glenn High­way in the shad­ow of the Lion’s Head rock for­ma­tion, look for the turnoff for the Cari­bou Creek Recre­ation­al Min­ing Area. You are not going to get fab­u­lous­ly rich here and be the next star of the TV real­i­ty show Gold Rush, but you do have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to car­ry a gold pan and shov­el, hike the steep half-mile-long trail down to the creek, and pan for gold.

What was it like to be an Alaskan sci­en­tist back in the 1940s? This site, on the south side of Palmer’s down­town, near Gulka­na and E. Fire­weed streets, will give you a pret­ty good idea. Back then, this two-sto­ry cement build­ing, the eight sim­ple cot­tages, and the arbore­tum were built by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Fair­banks and used by researchers study­ing how to increase pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in cold-weath­er crops.

In the 1950s, an Anchor­age fam­i­ly worked tire­less­ly at their dream of build­ing a ski resort here at the base of Gun­sight Moun­tain. They built a small chalet and erect­ed a rope tow. But financ­ing was always a prob­lem. Busi­ness did not boom. Today, the chalet is all that’s left of their efforts.

Be care­ful, it’s easy to miss this turn-off as you drop down the hill, but look out for the sign Cari­bou Creek Recre­ation­al Area.” This sel­dom-used camp­ground is a qui­et place to camp, away from high­way noise. It has fire rings and pic­nic tables, and there’s a trail to the creek. It’s a one-mile walk to the water. It’s a nice stream and it’s part of the State Recre­ation­al Gold Min­ing Area. So bring a pan and try your luck!

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Historic Parks & Sites View All

In the 1950s, an Anchor­age fam­i­ly worked tire­less­ly at their dream of build­ing a ski resort here at the base of Gun­sight Moun­tain. They built a small chalet and erect­ed a rope tow. But financ­ing was always a prob­lem. Busi­ness did not boom. Today, the chalet is all that’s left of their efforts.

Don’t miss the old trap­per’s cab­in at Byers Lake. Most Sour­doughs — that means old-time Alaskans — don’t even know it’s there. Hid­den in trees along the lakeshore trail, the old Bee­man cab­in stands as a reminder of sim­pler times. Peek in the win­dows and imag­ine liv­ing there all win­ter. Now part of Denali State Park, it’s an easy 10-minute walk from the main park­ing lot.

Palmer may look like it grew organ­i­cal­ly, like any oth­er town. But it was actu­al­ly designed by the gov­ern­ment as a planned agri­cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ty. In fact, Palmer was part of FDR’s New Deal Reset­tle­ment Projects dur­ing the Great Depres­sion: More than 200 fam­i­lies vol­un­teered to move to Alas­ka to try farm­ing in the Last Frontier!

Right next to the Tal­keet­na His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety, this orig­i­nal trap­pers cab­in” gives you an inte­ri­or look at traps, antique tins, a wash­tub, and furs, offer­ing a sense of how these pio­neers lived. And Olé is quite the char­ac­ter: he came to Alas­ka in 1916 and worked as a log­ger, sur­vey­or, and gold min­er. His grand­kids still attend the local schools.

His­to­ry, fun, and mas­sive por­tions of food come togeth­er at this insti­tu­tion, which was built over 3 years start­ing in 1914. Aside from stop­ping by for a bite to eat, you can book accom­mo­da­tions at the Tal­keet­na Road­house. Choose from a vari­ety of cozy rooms in the main road­house and wake up the smell of fresh baked goods from the Kitchen in the morn­ing. Or, for a more pri­vate expe­ri­ence, book one of the cab­ins out back or the Muse­um Apartment  ...more

What was it like to be an Alaskan sci­en­tist back in the 1940s? This site, on the south side of Palmer’s down­town, near Gulka­na and E. Fire­weed streets, will give you a pret­ty good idea. Back then, this two-sto­ry cement build­ing, the eight sim­ple cot­tages, and the arbore­tum were built by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Fair­banks and used by researchers study­ing how to increase pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in cold-weath­er crops.

Difficulty: Easy

At its peak, the Inde­pen­dence hard-rock gold mine was home to 206 work­ers and 16 fam­i­lies who lived high above tree line. Dig­ging and blast­ing, these work­ers recov­ered 140,000 ounces of gold before the mine shut down in the wake of World War II. There are 1.5 miles of paved walk­ways through­out the site, with infor­ma­tion­al plac­ards for a self-guid­ed tour. 

Difficulty: Difficult

If you have some seri­ous time and seri­ous ener­gy, take an adven­ture: hike the 20 miles out the Chase Trail to see what’s left of a lux­u­ry hotel built as a lay­over for the rail­road jour­ney between Seward and Fairbanks.

Sur­prise! This bridge over the Susit­na Riv­er appears with­out warn­ing, so if you want to stop and see this huge drainage, slow down and pull off the road at either end. Alaskans call it the Big Su. We fish it, pad­dle it, and snow machine its frozen braids. Bush pilots even nav­i­gate by this riv­er. The Susit­na Riv­er winds its way over 313 miles of South­cen­tral Alas­ka; this old rail­road bridge cross­es the water on the east­ern edge of Denali…  ...more

Descrip­tion­Lo­cat­ed between the Chugach and Tal­keet­na Moun­tain ranges, The Alpine His­tor­i­cal Park pro­vides com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, as well as vis­i­tors from far or near, a look back in time to under­stand the her­itage and cul­tures of the ear­ly set­tlers of this area. The Park is a place for fam­i­ly and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, often being used for gath­er­ings, par­ties, busi­ness events, com­mu­ni­ty pic­nics and many oth­er events, as there is no com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter in…  ...more

Opened in 1923 to accom­mo­date trav­el­ers on the new Alas­ka Rail­road, the small inn found fame (or noto­ri­ety) quick­ly: Pres­i­dent War­ren G. Hard­ing came for lunch, and died just a few days lat­er. Today, the hotel is com­prised of six recent­ly ren­o­vat­ed rooms as well as a bar and live music venue. You’ll hear every­thing from jazz and folk to open mic nights and seri­ous rock-n-roll. At the very least, do a walk-through to enjoy some local col­or and…  ...more

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