Cloudy
Cloudy

Weather

Palmer

Conditions:
Cloudy
Temperature:
30° F

Wasilla

Conditions:
Cloudy
Temperature:
30° F

Talkeetna

Conditions:
Cloudy
Temperature:
31° F

Visitors Guide

Come experience Alaska with us! View Mat-Su Valley's Visitor Guide. More Info


Online Availability Report

Check the upcoming availability of local accommodations. More Info


Video and Photo Tour

Take a look at Mat-Su Valley's Video and Photo Tour. More Info


In the Know

Learn from local experts the insider’s scoop. More Info

Hatcher Pass Road and Independence Gold Mine

Independence-MineHatcher Pass Road is a scenic 49-mile rugged mountain pass in the Mat-Su Valley, Alaska.

Originally used by Alaska gold rush miners in the 1930s and 1940s, this area is now a fascinating, historic and recreational playground, perfect for a full-day outing or side trip to Denali National Park.

Accessible from either Wasilla or Palmer, Hatcher Pass Road zigzags through alpine meadows, follows the picturesque Little Susitna River and is surrounded by mountains, brilliant wildflower displays and easy hiking trails.

Summer visitors take to the slopes to hike, pick berries and recreational gold pan.  In winter, about 10 miles of Hatcher Pass Road remains open from Palmer or Wasilla Fishhook Road for winter activities including
sledding, snowmobiling, snowcat skiing, cross-country skiing and alpine backcountry skiing.

Where to Begin

Hatcher Pass Road is accessible and well-marked from both the Parks Highway in Wasilla and the Glenn Highway, just north of Palmer. 

From Anchorage: Follow the Glenn Highway north from Anchorage north to mile 49.5.  Turnoff on Palmer-Fishhook Road and follow the signs to Hatcher Pass Road/Independence Mine State Historical Park.

From Wasilla: Head northeast on Main Street, which becomes Wasilla-Fishhook Road, which connects with the Palmer-Fishhook Road.

From Willow: The Willow-Fishhook Road junction is at Parks Highway mile 71.4 from Anchorage, and mile 290.6 from Fairbanks.

What to Do

The gold-bearing Little Susitna River flows beside Hatcher Pass Road, from mile 7 to 15.  There are several parking areas along this scenic mountain stream, which heads at Mint Glacier in the Talkeetna Mountains and flows 110 miles into Cook Inlet. 

The Motherlode Lodge is where hikers and mountain bikers can access the Gold Mint Trailhead.   At mile 14.6, park at the Fishhook Trailhead to hike the 18-mile Hatcher Pass Trail over the pass toward Willow.

Past the access road to Summit Lake State Recreation Site (elev. 3,886 feet) is the abandoned Independence Gold Mine.  This mine was one of Alaska's top-producing mines before gold mining came to a halt during World War II.  After which, mining activity declined until the mine was officially closed in 1951.  

The abandoned buildings and the surrounding 271 acres became Independence Mine State Historical Park in 1984. Thirteen structures built in the late 1930s and early 1940s remain standing.   Climb beyond the abandoned buildings on well-trodden trails and get rewarding views of the mine and entire valley.

At Mile 39, pavement begins.  At mile 49, the road connects with the Parks Highway.  From there, drive north to Talkeetna, Denali National Park and Fairbanks or head south to Wasilla.

Note: The road over the pass is not paved and opens typically around July 4th weekend.

There are several bed and breakfasts, rustic retreats and dining facilities in the Hatcher Pass Gold Rush Country.  

Search Listings

 
Click to Show Map
prev
No Results Found
next

 

 

 

There are no listings that match your query.

 

 

 

prev
No Results Found
next
Video Photo Tour

Video Photo Tour

Click here to launch the Mat-Su Valley Video Photo Tour. More Info

Social Media

Social Media

Get social with us on Twitter and Facebook. More Info

Helpful resources

Helpful resources

So you're planning a trip to Alaska and need some help getting started. You've come to the right place! More Info

Maps and more

Maps and more

Find Alaska Highway maps and mileage chart for distances between destination points within the Mat-Su… More Info

Great outdoors

Great outdoors

Discover more about boating, rafting, fishing, flightseeing and how to get into the backcountry of… More Info

Denali Flightseeing

Denali Flightseeing

Alaska's majestic scenery appears magnified from a Cessna window and the vantage point makes for good… More Info

glaciers

glaciers

You can see a glacier just about anywhere in Alaska. But in the Mat-Su Valley, you can actually get out… More Info

Alaska Rafting

Alaska Rafting

Uncover hidden jewels only accessible by boat. Hover in rapids through canyons, see glaciers calve fall… More Info

Dining in Mat-Su

Dining in Mat-Su

Fine dining to cafes and everything in between. Don't be surprised if your portions are Alaska-sized.… More Info

Previous Next

Yahoo Mat-Su! Where Alaska comes to play

The Mat-Su Valley is your place for adventure. From flightseeing Mount McKinley to rafting the Matanuska River, excitement is right around every corner. Spectacular views abound, from mountains to glaciers to wildlife. Conveniently located 35 miles north of Anchorage, your Alaska experience begins when you get to the Mat-Su Valley. Spend a day exploring Hatcher Pass, test your luck fishing or take advantage of the bountiful hiking. The Mat-Su Valley - where Alaska comes to play!



More Resources