Historic Trails & Tales

The sister cities of Palmer and Wasilla are the two largest in the Mat-Su Valley and have lots to see and do, whether you prefer outdoor activities such as hiking or just shopping and eating. The area has a rich history that you can revisit at the many museums. Share your fun on social media using #AlaskaGrown and #YahooMatSu.

Alaska Grown opportunities

Palmer is the agricultural hub of Alaska, and there are countless ways to enjoy an Alaska Grown adventure. If you'd like to explore the many working farms in the area, Alaska Farm Tours is a great way to do it - they even serve an Alaska Grown lunch. You can also do a self-drive on the Inner Springer system to see these farms up close. Friday Flings is a farmer's market that takes place every Friday through the summer, and you'll find the freshest produce around. Wasilla also has a farmer's market every Wednesday. Don't forget to visit the Musk Ox Farm and the Reindeer Farm, both of which are in Palmer. For lunch, try Turkey Red in Palmer - they use locally-sourced food throughout the summer.

Explore Our History

There are a number of ways to step back in time to experience the history of the area. In Palmer, the Colony House Museum and the Palmer Museum and Visitor Center describe the founding of the Matanuska Colony project. In Wasilla, the Wasilla Museum (formerly the Dorothy Page Museum) teaches you about the rich gold mining history of the Wasilla and Knik areas. Just outside of Wasilla, the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry highlights planes, trains and automobiles, among other things. The Iditarod headquarters is located a few miles from Wasilla on Knik-Goose Bay Road and has a free 30-minute video, a gift shop and the chance to meet an Iditarod musher.

Stay Another Day

The Palmer and Wasilla area has many lodging opportunities for you to extend your trip. Knik River Lodge is a beautiful choice just south of Palmer. In downtown Palmer, the Colony Inn is a small boutique inn that used to be a teacher's dormitory during the Colony era. Between Palmer and Wasilla is  Alaska Garden Gate B&B and Cottages, which offers spectacular views and private cottages, while Alaska's Harvest B&B on the Palmer-Wasilla Highway is an upscale B&B with great views of Pioneer Peak. Just outside of Wasilla, you'll find Alaska's Select Inn Hotel. Further north on the Parks Highway, Alaska's Sunset View Resort sits on the shores of Big Lake.

Featured Hike: Bodenburg Butte

"The Butte," as locals call it, is one of the Matanuska Valley's top hikes. The Butte is more of a climb, with a series of staircases leading you to the top. The Butte is 900 feet tall and the top features some of the best views in Alaska - a 360-degree vista of Pioneer Peak and Byers Peak, Knik Glacier and all of the agricultural farms. You can access the Butte by taking the Old Glenn Highway to Bodenburg Butte Road. From there, Mothershead Lane is a short gravel road that ends with a parking lot and restroom facilities.

Download a map of the West Butte Trail


Alaska Farm Tours

  • 76 S. Valley Way Palmer AK, 99645
  • Palmer, AK 99645

Alaska Sunset View Resort

  • 5322 South Big Lake Road
  • Big Lake, AK 99652

Alaska's Select Inn Motel

  • 3451 E. Palmdale Drive
  • Wasilla, AK 99654

Knik River Lodge

  • 29979 E. Knik River Road
  • Palmer, AK 99645