The Matanuska Glacier is a ribbon of ice 27 miles long and 4 miles wide. It is the largest glacier in Alaska that is accessible by car. A 100 mile drive Northeast from Anchorage on the Glenn Highway rewards you with a view of this spectacular Alaskan natural phenomenon. There are viewing turnouts along the highway, and the Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site is at milepost 101 with scenery and hiking trails, but not access to the glacier.
Matanuska Glacier Feature
There are several companies that operate glacier and adventure tours in this region. The most popular options are MICA Guides (Matanuska Ice Climbing Adventure Guides), as well a Ziplining outfit named Glacier View Adventures. Glacier View ATV Tours also runs an ATV adventure through the mountains above this glacier. Matanuska Glacier Helicopters will take passengers way up into the glacier for both scenic tours and advanced glacier expeditions.
The glacier provides the headwater for the Matanuska River. This river is a 75 mile long sport paddler’s dream which empties into the Cook Inlet at Knik Arm.
The glacier began its retreat to its present location about 10,000 years ago, and has remained fairly stable over the past 30 years. It is always on the move, traversing the Matanuska Valley at the slow-grinding rate of about a foot per day.
Always ranked as one of the top tourist attractions in Alaska, the scenic view from the highway can only be topped by taking one of the guided tours over or on the ice. A helicopter tour, ice climbing adventure, hiking just to feel the ice, and experience its grand scale, makes this opportunity unforgettable.
Blue holes of glacial water, ice caves, scenery that seems to go on forever, it’s all there for you to experience. Get out there and make a memory.