Top 10 Things to do in the Mat-Su
Article and photo gallery by Cecil Sanders
The Mat-Su area offers a ton to see and do. The following are my top 10 things to do. Limiting it to 10 was very difficult.
Comment below and tell us about your favorite things to do in the Mat-Su.
10. Sewards Folly at the West Rib Pub and Cafe
Eat the Sewards Folly reindeer burger at West Rib Pub and Cafe in Talkeetna. This burger is legendary. It was originally featured on the TV show Man vs. Food. Not only is the burger absolutely huge (it took our group of 4 adults and 2 kids to finish it), but it’s also incredibly tasty.
9. Iris fields in bloom
See the iris fields on “the flats” when in bloom next to the Glenn Highway. Technically outside of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, in the Anchorage Borough, the fields are located just on the Anchorage side of the Knik River between the river bank and the Glenn Highway. There’s a pull off about 1/2 a mile past the Old Glenn overpass headed toward Anchorage. It’s a spectacular sight to see in the middle of June.
8. Hike the Butte.
One of the most popular and accessible short hikes in the state is located just outside of Palmer in the town called Butte, or as locals refer to it, “the Butte.” The steep trail up takes most people about half an hour to 45 minutes, but offers amazing 360 degree views of Knik Glacier, Pioneer Peak, Byers Peak, the Talkeetna Mountains, Butte, Palmer, the Matanuska River and more.
7. Knik Glacier
Take a flightseeing trip around Knik Glacier. The views of the Knik River Valley on up to the glacier and back down the Knik River are out of this world. Check Artic Aviation for flight times and availability.
6. Catch a salmon
Charter a fishing trip on the Little Su or Deshka River and try your hand at landing one of the different species of salmon that run up the streams.
5. The Alaska State Fair
If you are in the state during the end of August through the first few days of September, spending a few days enjoying the fair should be high on your list. The fair brings talent from across the country and around the world, while highlighting the farming heritage of the Matanuska Valley.
4. Spend the day on a lake
Rent or borrow a canoe and spend the day on one the Mat-Su’s beautiful lakes. Take a fishing pole or just bring your camera. There are many lakes to choose from, some with rentals some without. Relax on the waters of Kepler, Bradley, Swan, Mud, Wasilla, and more with their beautiful mountain views.
3. Take the train to Talkeetna
Travel with the Alaska Railroad from Wasilla up to Talkeetna and then take a flightseeing tour of Denali with one of the many flightseeing services. Spend time exploring the town’s many shops and restaurants.
2. Matanuska Glacier
Get up close and personal with the awe inspiring 27 mile long Matanuska Glacier. Walk around the terminus and peek inside ice caves and adventure into a new world about 40 minutes north of Palmer on the Glenn Highway. When you are done, drive on up to Sheep Mountain Lodge and grab a tasty meal. Don’t forget their enormous cookie and ice cream for dessert.
1. Hatcher Pass
Hike one of the many trails such as Gold Cord, Reed Lakes and Gold Mint. Experience the rich mining history at Independence Mine. Eat at Hatcher Pass Lodge, or take snacks for the trail. When the road to Summit Lake opens for the summer venture on up and consider driving all the way to Willow. Hatcher Pass is an amazing place to explore year around.
Article and photographs by Cecil Sanders