Temperatures are climbing and the snow is melting, but we're still waiting for ice to clear from the lakes and buds to appear on the trees. Summer is so close we can almost taste it. With their eye fixed on the warmer months ahead, Mat-Su Valley residents are hard at work planning activities and adventures for the summer. So, what do the locals enjoy doing in the Valley? Here are a few popular ideas for you to consider:

1. Hike the Butte. It's one of the iconic hikes, its close to the core area, and the views from the top are spectacular. This is one of the most rewarding ways to spend a few hours in the Palmer area.

2. A scenic drive to Matanuska Glacier. There are still many local residents who have yet to make this amazing trip. Astounding views of the largest road accessible glacier begin near mile 100 of the Glenn Highway. You can also join a guided trek on the glacier - they know the best, and safest, places to visit on the ice. It's an adventure you won't soon forget.

3. Rent a public-use cabin. The Alaska State Parks offer public-use cabins in a variety of state parks, and you can rent them up to six months ahead online, and many have been renovated and rebuilt in recent years. It's a rustic way to get out and enjoy some hidden gems in the Mat-Su Valley.

4. Grab a paddle. There are amazing opportunities to kayak and canoe throughout the Mat-Su area. You can rent canoes at Nancy Lake, Byers Lake or Matanuska Lakes Park and spend an afternoon paddling around the lakes, often with amazing views. Paddle board rentals and guided paddle tours are also available in the Palmer/Wasilla core area. Bring your fishing rod and try some of the noted lake fishing.

5. Explore Hatcher Pass. There are countless ways to enjoy Hatcher Pass - hiking, Independence Mine, the drive over the top, Summit Lake and so much more. There is so much to see and do that you'll want to give yourself a few visits to soak it all in.


Picture yourself here!