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. Either travel the streams or explore extensive pond networks on the flats.
The brushy expanse offers fabulous views of Pioneer Peak and the Chugach Mountains, including an otherworldly vista of icy peaks towering over the head of the Knik River valley. The notorious Matanuska winds often keep the flats almost snow free, so skating tends to last longer into the winter here than at many other “wild ice” venues.
Watch for moose . . .
As the winter goes on and uplands grow snowier, moose tend to congregate on the Hay Flats, drawn by easy walking through winter browse. That phenomenon can transform any skating adventure into a great chance for moose viewing. Considering taking along binoculars or lightweight scopes.