If you’re planning a vacation to South Central Alaska, chances are you’ve heard about the Matanuska Glacier. At 13,000 feet high and 27 miles long, this solid body of ice is the largest glacier in Alaska that can be reached by vehicle. It was even chosen by Alaska Magazine as #2 of “49 Places to Go in the 49th State”! Whether you’re staying nearby or planning a day trip, visiting the Matanuska Glacier should be on your Alaska itinerary. Here are some of the best ways to get there.
How to See the Spectacular Matanuska Glacier
Take a Scenic Drive
Matanuska Glacier is located between the cities of Palmer and Glennallen and is visible from the Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway. This 135-mile route takes travelers north of Anchorage and along the historic pathways of Alaska. At Mile 91, you’ll find your first pull-off area with a scenic view of the glacier. It’s a great spot to stop, but if you want to get close to this giant, continue driving a few miles up the road.
Explore Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Area
At mile marker 101 you’ll find the 300-acre Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Area. This site doesn’t offer direct access to the glacier, but it is a popular location to sightsee. Take advantage of an easy walking trail that parallels the glacier and the Matanuska River, or relax in the pavilion and enjoy the scenery. The recreation area even has campsites, toilets, fire pits, and picnic tables.
Hike the Glacier
Matanuska Glacier Park at mile marker 102 is the glacier’s only access point. A fee grants visitors entry to the parking lot, and from there, it’s an easy 15-minute hike out to the ice. You can take a guided tour past frozen caves, tunnels, and canyons. After your hike, enjoy a meal at the Long Rifle Lodge where you’ll have unobstructed views of the glacier from the dining room.
Note: Matanuska Glacier Park is a private park that recently raised their entrance fee to $100. If you don’t want to pay that price, we recommend pulling off at the sites mentioned above. Both offer spectacular views of the glacier at no additional cost.
Book Your Stay at Alaska Garden Gate B&B and Cottages
Now that you know all about the Matanuska Glacier, it’s time to start planning your trip to Alaska! Our Palmer bed and breakfast is the perfect place to stay and has everything you need for a memorable vacation. Reserve an economical inn room with a private bath, or be one of the first to stay in our brand new two-bedroom cottages. We even offer a delicious complimentary breakfast each morning! Visit our accommodations page or call us today to make your reservations. Don’t forget to check out our vacation specials to help you save on your trip!
For more great places to explore, read our blog about the best Knik Glacier tours.
Photo Credit: Ashley Heimbigner | Barberstock