4 Day Mat-Su Valley Discovery from Anchorage
Mid-May through mid-September
Why This Trip?
The Mat-Su Valley is Alaska's agricultural heartland, and it's full of fascinating places to stop, as well as fun adventures. Rent a car in Anchorage and go! This trip gives you an overview of the area while offering the opportunty to see glaciers and wildlife.
Arrive in Anchorage - Overnight from Palmer / Wasilla
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Pick up your rental car in Anchorage for the 45-mile drive to the Palmer/Wasilla area. Along the way, you can plan to stop in Eagle River or Chugiak and have kayaks, paddleboards or canoes dropped off for you at one of the many local lakes by AK Paddlesports, and if you'd like an expert guide, they can arrange that too! Another option would be to stop and see some cool creatures. At the Musk Ox Farm, you can check out one of the Arctic's oldest living species, the musk ox; around 80 of them live here. And at the Reindeer Farm, you'll have the chance to pet a reindeer! Overnight in Palmer.
Roundtrip Drive to Glacier View
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From Palmer/Wasilla, it's another 60 miles to Glacier View. There's no actual downtown here, but it's a great place for adventures. The centerpiece is the mammoth Matanuska Glacier, one of Alaska's few roadside glaciers. Get right up to it and take a guided hike on the ice. You'll also find the two fastest ziplines in Southcentral Alaska here, as well as great opportunities for rafting and hiking. Head back to Palmer/Wasilla to spend the night.
Day in Willow, Overnight in Palmer / Wasilla
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The Mat-Su Valley encompasses several small communities, and today you'll drive about an hour to Willow. Willow is famous for being the starting point of the world-famous Iditarod sled dog race! En-route, stop at the Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla. Watch a video on the Iditarod, explore the exhibits and memorabilia, and peruse the gift shop. Know that you know all about the Iditarod, try dog sledding for yourself! In summer, you'll ride in a modified cart through wooded trails that simulate a true winter mushing experience. Meet the pups and the mushers, many of whom have run the Iditarod themselves! (Note: some summer dog sledding tours fly to a remote glacier, departing from the Knik Area, just 45-minutes north of Anchorage)
Last Day in the Mat-Su, Drive Back to Anchorage
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Today it's time to drive back to Anchorage and fly home. Before you depart, Hike a trail in Hatcher Pass and explore Independence Mine. Or take the family on a hike up Bodenburg Butte; it's only 1.5 miles long, and the summit offers incredible views. If you're looking for something to up the adrenaline level, take an ATV tour. The drive from Palmer to Anchorage is about an hour, so give yourself plenty of time before your departing flight.