Alaska Day Hikes

Scenic Matanuska Glacier

A scenic view from the Glenn Highway of the Matanuska Glacier

A portion of visitors coming into Alaska are visiting by cruise ship. Or, they are trying to cover as much of the state as possible and aren’t spending a ton of time in any one place. So, what do you do when you still want to explore the area, but have a limited amount of time? Day hikes are a perfect solution.

Glenn Highway Adventures

A look down the Mat-Su Valley from the Glenn Highway

Situated just a two-hour drive from Anchorage is Matanuska Glacier. Which is one of the only glaciers you’re able to access by foot without the help of a guide. So, this glacier is a must visit for all! But, what to do with that drive?

On the way out toward the glacier, you’ll discover Matanuska River Park, just east of Palmer. The park has about 1.6 miles of trails that loop and intersect, making it a perfect stop for a short hike that the entire family can enjoy. Most of the trail explores forests of cottonwood, spruce, and birch trees. The park itself is situated beside small ponds and streams and leads to views of the Matanuska River Valley, and the Chugach Mountain Range.

Alaska Mountains and Forests

A coniferous forest climbs over cliffs to reach a section of the Chugach Mountains

As you get closer to the glacier, you’ll find areas such as Glacier View. Here you’ll get a scenic view of the glacier itself along with trails to explore all around. In the search for a quick hike, find Pinochle Circle Road. This is a little used two-mile section of the old Glenn Highway. It’s a great way to have a quiet walk, with scenic views, and still traverse small hills for a bit of a challenge.

Luckily, Alaska is full of hiking trails. Don’t forget that when you’re in between destinations. You’ll find plenty of options to stop, stretch your legs, and explore the area with a quick day hike.