Best Scenic Spots in Mat-Su Valley
Tucked between the ruggedness of Alaska Range, the Talkeetna Mountains, and the Chugach Mountains, the Mat-Su Valley is where the highway meets nature. While you can drive on almost any part of it, this list of the best scenic spots in Mat-Su Valley showcases ecotourism destinations.
Escape into the wild, remote areas of Alaska at these five breathtaking spots in Mat-Su Valley.
5 Scenic Spots in Mat-Su Valley
1. Glenn Highway, Denali Highway, and Parks Highway Loop
For the adventure-loving photographer, this road trip is a dream come true. This scenic route includes a 135-mile section is a National Scenic Byway. Many regard it as one of Alaska’s most impressive and scenic drives.
Glenn Highway follows a path carved by the ancient Matanuska Glacier, leading you to the braided Matanuska River. You can also see North America’s highest peak, the majestic Mt. McKinley.
Enjoy the ride and spectacular landscapes. There are also plenty of opportunities for hiking, river rafting, geology, wildlife viewing, glacier exploring, photography, and more.
You can also gain valuable tips on wildlife viewing, fossil finds, and hidden mountain lakes from several lodges and campground hosts.
2. Hatcher Pass Road and Independence
Drive through Hatcher Pass on a sunny summer day, and you’ll be amazed at how stunning Alaska is. This 49-mile scenic road is accessible from Anchorage, Wasilla, and Willow. It’s a fantastic drive with plenty of stops for hiking, picnicking, berry picking, and gold panning.
Today, Hatcher Pass is a historic site that provides visitors with an intriguing trip back in time as they explore old mining sites and trails.
3. Knik-Goose Bay Road Scenic Drive
Take a journey back to the once-bustling trade center in Knik, Alaska, which served as a major supply point for the Alaska interior.
Knik, home to many famous Alaska mushers, is often called the “Dog Mushing Center of the World.” The first 15 miles of Knik Road is the Joe Redington Sr.’s Memorial Trail. Redington was an influential figure in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race organization.
Experience the thrill of a summer dog sled ride at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Headquarters, which showcases memorabilia, photos, and video footage. You can
also camp at Lake Lucille Park or enjoy breathtaking views of forests and wetlands at Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge.
4. Old Glenn Highway Scenic Loop
Taking the Old Glenn Highway is a fun way to travel between Anchorage and Palmer. The 19-mile scenic drive between the two cities passes through historic farmlands, rivers, and valley views. There are many great activities along the way, including hiking, camping, picnics, and moose viewing.
Enjoy a day hike at the Lazy Mountain Recreation Area. If you’re driving with your kids, visit Reindeer Farm on Bodenburg Loop Road to pet, photograph, and hand-feed Alaska reindeer. Kids will also enjoy getting close to moose, deer, and elk.
5. Petersville Road Scenic Drive
Explore abandoned mining communities, observe wildlife, and take in breathtaking views of Mount McKinley and the Alaska Range.
The Petersville Road takes you past major Alaskan attractions, including Peters Creek Canyon and Petersville State Recreational Mining Area.
You’ll see pristine wilderness, snowcapped mountains, and lakes so blue you won’t believe it. Several trailheads also lead into some spectacular backcountry areas.
From its beautiful bounty of lakes and mountains to the memories of pioneer history, the Mat-Su Valley truly is a hidden gem. Rediscover this valley within reach of many Alaskans with these fantastic drives.
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