Don't have a weekend to devote to hiking? That's not a problem in the Wasilla and Palmer area, as there are several great hiking opportunities just minutes from town. Here are our five favorites:
1. Hatcher Pass. This is an easy choice! There are countless ways to explore Hatcher Pass, and there are trails that take off in seemingly every direction. A few favorites are Gold Mint Trail and Reed Lakes Trail - both can be done with relative ease or turned into a day-long trek. Also, the Government Peak Recreation Area, at the base of Hatcher Pass, has several very nice trails. Best of all, you can be in the wilderness in just 15 minutes from downtown Wasilla.
2. Crevasse Moraine. This trailhead is easily accessible, as it is located off the Palmer-Wasilla Highway. It is a series of loops that total about 7 miles, and ranges from beginner to expert in terms of difficulty. You can reach the Crevasse Moraine system off Loma Prieto Drive.
3. Reflections Lake. Located on the Glenn Highway just south of Palmer, the trail around the lake is super scenic and very easy. It's a perfect hike for families who want to get out but not have to spend an entire day. Take the Knik River exit off the Glenn Highway.
4. The Butte. Just minutes from downtown Palmer, the Butte is a top pick from locals. The 900-foot Butte doesn't look like much, but it's all uphill. There are stairs that are built into the trail, making it a bit easier. At the top, you are treated to a 360-degree view of the Chugach Mountains and the farmland below. There is a large parking lot located off Mothershead Lane, off Bodenburg Butte Loop.
5. Matanuska Greenbelt. This is a series of trails, which also includes Crevasse Moraine. The Matanuska Greenbelt Trail system also includes Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area, Matanuska Experiment Farm and UAA Mat-Su College properties. There are trails for every skill level within the system.
Get out and enjoy one of the many hiking opportunities in the Mat-Su Valley!