This week, the Alaska Great Land Trust held a celebration after buying the Butte, a popular hiking destination, ensuring the area remains open to public use. That's great news, because it is a gem in the Mat-Su Valley. If you haven't hiked the Butte yet, make your plans now - you won't be disappointed.

The Butte is located off Bodenburg Butte Road, along the Old Glenn Highway outside of Palmer. The most popular way to access the Butte is by parking ($5/car) at a Mat-Su Borough lot off Mothershead Lane. A gentle walk to the base of the Butte gets you warmed up for the climb. The trail features switchbacks and in most cases, steps for the climb to the top, which is 900 feet. Depending on your pace, plan on 1-2 hours to reach the top and get back down, but don't rush it - the top is the highlight.

Don't forget your camera, because from the top of the 900-foot Butte, you'll be treated to spectacular views that are simply breathtaking. A 360-degree panorama provides views of the Chugach Mountains and Pioneer Peak, Lazy Mountain, Matanuska Peak, the Knik River Valley and the lush farmlands down below. Make sure to bring a sack lunch for the top, as well as water. 

You don't have to be an expert hiker to take in the Butte, but you'll want to be ready for an aerobic workout, as the steep stairs gets your blood flowing. It's suitable for children and novice hikers. Since it is one of the most popular hikes in the area, be ready to share the trail with fellow outdoor enthusiasts.

Hiking the Butte is a great way to get outdoors, be active and see amazing views of the Palmer area. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time at the top to take it all in. The area surrounding the Butte is private, so please respect the property owners when traveling to one of Alaska's best hikes.