Don’t Miss Matanuska Glacier’s 5 Astonishing Features

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matanuska glacier
by porbital / unlimphotos

Matanuska Glacier is a valley glacier situated in Alaska. This glacier is environed by a park, trails, and a small campground. With a sunny sky and warmer climate, Matanuska Glacier is the most loved destination for glacial trips.


Matanuska Glacier is 27 miles long and 4 miles wide glacier near the Glenn Highway northeast of Anchorage in Glacier View. It stands beside Chugach Mountain. It is the largest Alaska glacier in the US that vehicles can reach.

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Photo by Davide Cantelli on Unsplash. Copyright 2016

This glacier has streams of flowing ice that make the Matanuska River’s headwaters. The glacier provides glacial adventure in the temperature above freezing point throughout the year. A unique feature is its function as a weather hole that propels warm air upwards.

Top 5 Things to See At Matanuska Glacier

Alaska is famous for its glaciers, wildlife, fisheries, and trekking. The thrill of glaciers accompanied by beautiful wilderness and aquatic diversity make Alaska one of the most visited places in the United States of America. Last year between May and September, around 2.26 million people visited Alaska.

Glaciers are nothing but perpetual gifts by nature. These snow-covered areas are wonders of the earth. Glaciers glimpse the ice age and the difficulties of nature and humanity’s quest for survival.

Matanuska Glacier secures its position among the Top 10 glaciers of Alaska. It is unique, vast, and accessible. Its temperature can dip to -17 degrees in winters with 5 rainy days a week. Seeing the sunset at midnight and its appearance five hours later has its charm and distinctiveness.

This 27 miles long river of ice propounds some astonishing natural sites and glacier adventures. Glacier trekking, ice climbing, hiking, and biking are some adventurous things you can enjoy here. Let’s have a look at them in detail.

1. Matanuska Glacier State Creation Site

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Photo by Nitish Meena on Unsplash. Copyright 2016

It is a 229-acre recreation area adjacent to the Glenn Highway at Mile 101. It provides Alaska State Park facilities with a small campground. This area provides a beautiful view of the Matanuska Glacier. You can even see the headwaters of the Matanuska River.

This park provides guided tours equipped with helmets and other security gear. It has a campground and rest area, and a half an hour’s walk can lead you to the Edge Nature trail. From this place, you can have a scenic view of the glacier.

This park is managed by Long Rifle Lodge and provides fabulous camping, hiking, and viewing platforms. You can also access picnic tables, fire pits, and toilets at this site. Due to snowfall, the creation site remains open throughout summer and closes in winter.

You may follow the link below for further information.

Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site- Alaska

2. Glacier Park Resort – Matanuska Glacier

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Photo by Hari Nandakumar on Unsplash. Copyright 2018

Matanuska Glacier Park Resort is a privately owned property that charges $ 30 per person as an entrance fee. Situated at Mile 102 of Glenn Highway, it has a campground and resort. You get both guided and unguided glacier tours here.

Local guides help you explore the meltwater pools. In the heart of Matanuska-Susitna Valley, it provides 20 minutes initial self-guided tour. Local guides are available for interior hiking.

The road leads to the Matanuska River, crossing through a privately owned bridge. The local guides provide security gear to explore Matanuska Glacier’s fascinating sites. Guided tours are mandatory for visitors for security reasons.

3. Matanuska River – Matanuska Glacier

Matanuska River is a 75-mile long river in south-central Alaska. It is joined by meltwater from Matanuska Glacier near the Chugach Mountains. The river delivers a class iii and iv rafting experience, which is quite challenging.

The hypothesis behind the name Matanuska connects to the Russian etymology. It is assumed it is the modified name of Matanooski, which means Copper People River. It is locally known as Mat-Su.

The Glenn Highway runs parallel to the Matanuska River. The river drains at the Old Glenn Highway Bridge near Palmer, Alaska. Here the glacial beauty of Matanuska blooms with natural settings. Seasoned photographers love to capture the scene. The site provides scenic beauty and a lovely glacial experience.

4. Matanuska Glacier Trek and Hiking

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Photo by Jackman Chiu on Unsplash. Copyright 2018

Matanuska Glacier Trail is a 2.6 kilometers loop trail near Sutton. The trail is moderate and full of wildflowers. It is private property. During the summer, the self-guided access costs $ 30 per person and $ 100 per person for guided access in winter.

The starting point of the trail is muddy. Here you walk on dirt and small rocks covered with ice. The trail acts as a pass through the ice walls of the Matanuska Glacier. The crunching sound of the boots gives the feeling of a march into the ice.

It leads to the bottom of the glacier that is accessible without any gear. You can see the picturesque glacier and the mountains from here. However, guided access is required for further hiking as you need ropes, hiking boots, and other security gear.


5. Ice Climbing and Snowmobile Tours – Matanuska Glacier

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Photo by Johannes Andersson on Unsplash. Copyright 2020

After the 2 miles of hiking over the uneven glacial moraine, you can enjoy the ice climbing. The experienced guiding provides climbing techniques worth enjoying the glacial adventure. The ice climbing begins with moderate ice slopes progressing into challenging climbing. Skilled guides assist this whole course of an adventure.

Ice climbing at Matanuska is a full-day trip activity. It may take up to 8 hours. Guided climbing provides lunch and snacks that keep the visitors energetic through the climbing. Climbing over the ice edges is exceptionally adventurous. Ice climbing is done in groups. Mountaineering Club of Alaska organizes Annual Climbing Festival in September every year.

For more information about Ice Climbing, you can follow the link below:

Snowmobile Tours are the center of attraction of the Matanuska Glacier. The powerful sleds explore the Alaska backcountry, locally known as Snow Machine. Snowmobile guides assist the tour providing a safe and enjoyable backcountry visit.

Best Time To Visit Matanuska Glacier

Matanuska Glacier can be visited throughout the year. Self-guided tours are available only in the summer season. June to September is a great time to visit the Matanuska Glacier.

The weather is quite unpredictable here; it can change quickly. One should be prepared for rain, warm and cool temperature, and sunshine.

Also, read Top 5 Reasons to Visit Crescent Lake, Alaska.

The glacier’s ice at Matanuska advances about a foot every day. The glacier’s beauty lies in the fantastic view of the ice slopes, the icy river, and the snow bed at the valley’s foot. You can visit the glacier whenever you want, but it is recommended to consult an expert that safely and reliably guides glacier adventures. The experience is worth it at Matanuska Glacier.

5 Panoramic Drive Points From Anchorage To Matanuska Glacier
USA Tales

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