East of Anchorage and past the Wasilla/Palmer area, the quaint town of Glacier View awaits. The name speaks for itself as you wind down the Glenn Highway. Past jagged mountain sides, braided rivers, and rolling coniferous forests, the trees part to show off the giant valley glacier. The Matanuska Glacier is the backdrop to numerous attractions and adventures, catered to by a variety of local businesses.
The Matanuska-Susitna Valley’s formation occurred through glaciation and volcanism over a millennia. Thus, leaving behind beautiful geological features, including the Matanuska Glacier and Chugach Mountain Range. The valley was later used by gold miners during the Klondike Rush to connect ports and prospecting areas.
Before European settlement, Athabaskan natives traveled the Mat-Su Valley by foot, dog sled, and boat. There were once permanent villages that served as hunting and fishing posts. As the Russians explored the nearby rivers, the indigenous people began trading with them. Soon, European homesteaders and traders alike brought the Spanish flu to the area and decimated the native population.
In the 1930’s, during the Second World War, a road connection from Anchorage to Valdez was constructed to connect ports and create more effective supply routes. Soon after, in 1935, at the peak of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt permitted a relocation program. This invited 202 families to the nearby areas. Land was parceled out to the new “colonists” by a lottery system.
Glacier View Now
Glacier View is now home to 234 year round residents. (suburbanstats) There may be a small number of people, but the area provides ample opportunity for exploration and connecting with the local culture. With the Glenn Highway creating a connector between port cities, many people find themselves traveling the winding road through the valley.
What to Do, Where to Go
Glacier View is a great home base to explore the natural wonders that surround the small town. This area provides camping amenities, historic local lodging, and even glamping. Some of the best coffee in Alaska overlooks the Matanuska Glacier at MICA Mocha. Rooted in local service, Glacier View provides an authentic outdoor experience with a growing community.
There are many guided tours by established local companies. And even one that offers an overnight glacier luxury camping experience. During the warmer months you can explore the crevasses and ice falls of the Matanuska Glacier with glacier guides. The Matanuska River is glacially fed and provides an extraordinary view of the valley on a whitewater expedition. If you are looking to take your adventure to new heights, floating through the skies on a helicopter tour may be the experience you have been craving.
Outside of pre-planned trips there are many hiking and biking trails to explore. In addition, there is open terrain for cross country skiing as well as a company that provides helicopter supported alpine skiing. Whether you are enjoying the midnight sun or the glow of the Northern Lights, Glacier View provides the perfect hub.