Mat-Su Valley Jeep & ATV Tours
Jeep / ATV Tours
These ATV and a side-by-side tours in scenic Hatcher Pass with the option of half or full-day adventures are great for groups or families. Full day tour also includes a tour of Independence Mine State Historical Park. Walk the trails through the historic buildings — and depending on the time of year, stop to pan for gold or pick wild blueberries! Tours depart from Willow with transportation available from Anchorage.
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.
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.
Explore its many branches and beautiful views. You’ll also be rewarded with flat, gentle hiking, all with gorgeous views.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Choose between four hiking trails on the McKinley Princess property, from easy to strenuous, and explore the Alaskan wilderness, with great views and wildlife.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
If you want a convenient no-frills outpost close to your boat or airplane — and just off the winter trail — Nancy Lake Cabin 3 will fit the bill. What this well-used, old-style public use cabin lacks in amenities or architectural wonder may be compensated by its simplicity and ease of heating on frigid winter nights. Cozy is the word — a warm, dry refuge after a long day outside.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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 1⁄2 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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!
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
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
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 trail is in Independence Mine State Historical Park and is a self-guided hike. This is one of many trails surrounding Independence Mine.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Centered on a park-like island with winding trails through the brush, Red Shirt Lake Cabin 1 is a big cabin that’s an easy paddle from the launch point at end of the three-mile Red Shirt Lake Trail. From its sprawling front porch, you can glimpse water on two sides, but no major vistas. Situated in the mouth of the lake’s protected northwestern lobe, the cabin is a great launch point for exploration by canoe when the main lake becomes windy and ...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
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!
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.
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
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 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
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
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.
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.
Local bands, live paintings, circus performances, local art vendors, and a positive atmosphere. Bring an instrument and join in the open jam sessions! Bring juggling equipment, fire spinning equipment, hoops, etc, and join in the live performance art.
Just 45 minutes outside Anchorage, the city gives way to the wilds of Alaska in the Knik River Valley. And one of the most exciting ways to explore the rugged tundra here is behind the wheel of your own Polaris ATV, or 2 or 4‑seat UTV (perfect for families)! Splash through rivers, gaze in awe at the glacier, and look for wildlife on this unforgettable tour.
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.
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