Summer is officially here, and everyone is looking to get out and enjoy the sun. The Mat-Su Valley has countless ways to enjoy the great outdoors, but here are seven of our all-time favorites.
1. Head to Hatcher Pass. There may not be a more beautiful - and accessible - spot in Alaska! Whether you are looking to hike, camp, mountain bike or just spend an afternoon at Independence Mine, there is something for everyone. Reed Lakes Trail is one of favorites, but Gold Mint Trail is also a nice easy hike.
2. Camp at Kesugi Ken Campground. The Alaska State Parks campground opened in 2017 in the heart of Denali State Park, and the views of the Alaska Range are absolutely spectacular. It's a very popular spot, so make sure to get there early to secure a space.
3. Take in a baseball game. The Alaska Baseball League's Mat-Su Miners play at Hermon Brothers Field all summer. The college-age players come to Alaska to hone their skills and many ultimately get drafted and make the big leagues. Hermon Brothers Field is on the Alaska State Fairgrounds.
4. Stop in at Friday Flings. Downtown Palmer's weekly market is a great event that brings together farmers, local artists and small store owners for an afternoon of fun. There's also live music and lots of activities.
5. Enjoy live music. The Valley has several options for those looking for live music. In addition to Friday Flings, there is an outdoor weekend concert series at Palmer City Alehouse. Check out the Palmer Musk Ox Farm as they host a summer concert series. And in Talkeetna, the Live at 5 concert series takes place every Friday at 5 p.m. in the Village Park.
6. Spend a day on the Glenn Highway. Head north for adventure that includes trekking on Alaska's largest road-accessible glacier, the Matanuska. This national scenic byway is perfect for a casual drive with outstanding views. There are several lakes where you can fish, trails you can hike, roadhouses and lodges serving great meals. Better yet, spend a couple days exploring the region.
7. Spend a day in Talkeetna. The quirky mountain town is the perfect day trip. If you want to go big, try flightseeing or jetboating for a Denali-size adventure. Or, keep it low key and visit the many shops and restaurants. The views of Denali are spectacular from Talkeetna.