Away from all the pollution, car honks, and city lights, Matanuska Glacier is a glacier valley situated in Alaska. This glacier is environed by a park, several trails, and a small campground.
With a sunny sky and warmer climate, Matanuska Glacier is the most loved destination for winter hiking trips.
Matanuska Glacier is 27 miles long and 4 miles wide glacier near the Glenn Highway, towards the northeastern end of Anchorage in Glacier View.
It stands beside Chugach Mountain and is the largest glacier in the US that vehicles can reach.
This glacier has streams of flowing ice that make it to the Matanuska River’s headwaters, it also provides glacial adventure in temperatures above freezing point throughout the year.
Top 5 Things to See at Matanuska Glacier
Alaska is famous for its glaciers, wildlife, fisheries, trekking, natural beauty, and a lot more.
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 spectacular gifts by nature. They provide a glimpse of 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 winter 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
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 and a beautiful view of the Matanuska Glacier. You can even see the headwaters of the Matanuska River from here.
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 spot 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.
2. Glacier Park Resort – Matanuska Glacier
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, but guided tours are advised concerning your security.
Local guides help you explore the meltwater pools in the heart of Matanuska-Susitna Valley, they also provide a 20-minute self-guided tour.
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, but 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 analogy behind the name Matanuska connects to 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 and 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 as the site provides scenic beauty and a lovely glacial experience.
4. Matanuska Glacier Trek and Hiking
Matanuska Glacier Trail is a 2.6 kilometers loop trail near Sutton.
The trail is moderate and full of wildflowers. During the summers, 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 and you will have to walk on dirt and small rocks covered with ice. The trail acts as a passway 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 which 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
After the 2 miles of hiking over the uneven glacial moraine, you can enjoy ice climbing.
The experienced guided tours provide climbing techniques worth enjoying the glacial adventure. The ice climbing begins with moderate ice slopes progressing into challenging climbs, for your safety, skilled guides assist you this whole course.
Ice climbing at Matanuska is a full-day trip activity and it may take up to 8 hours.
Guided treks also provide lunch and snacks that keep the visitors energetic throughout the climb. Climbing over the ice edges is exceptionally adventurous. You can also take part in the Annual Climbing Festival in September every year, organized by the Mountaineering Club of Alaska.
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, although the 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 as it can change in the blink of an eye. One should be prepared for rain, warmth, and cool temperature, and sunshine, all at once.
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. Have fun exploring!