Palmer / Wasilla Area Points of Interest

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Points of Interest

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.

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

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.

After fol­low­ing along the Lit­tle Susit­na Riv­er on the Palmer Fish­hook Road, you will see a pull­out on the side of the road.

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!

At Mile 11 on the Old Glenn High­way, turn onto Boden­burg Loop Road. Pyrahs Pio­neer Peak U‑Pick Farm sits at mile three of Boden­burg Loop. With up to 35 dif­fer­ent kinds of pro­duce to pick (weath­er depen­dent) this is a great way to get some fresh veg­gies for home. Prices are by the pound, and hours of oper­a­tion vary by sea­son. The first farm in this area was home­stead­ed by John Boden­burg. It remains a rur­al area today, and farm­ing and farm…  ...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.

The Knik Glac­i­er snakes out of the Chugach Moun­tains, tum­bling into an ice­berg-stud­ded lake that feeds the Knik Riv­er. Expe­ri­ence the glac­i­er up close on an ATV tour from Palmer, or a flight­see­ing trip (with option­al land­ings on or near the glac­i­er) from Anchor­age or Palmer. Flights are as short as 90 min­utes round-trip, mak­ing it one of the most acces­si­ble and impres­sive glac­i­ers from Anchorage. 

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