Right beside one of the busiest highways in Alaska, the Glenn Highway, you'll find peace and serenity at Reflections Lake, which is one of the Mat-Su Valley's hidden gems.
The lake is located at the Knik River Access ramp just north of Palmer on the Glenn Highway. Despite it being right beside the highway, the lake offers a quiet retreat with recreational opportunities galore.
The trail is ideal for families. It is 1.1-miles long and makes a loop around the entire lake. It's wide and maintained with gravel, so walkers and hikers of all abilities can easily make their way along the trail. Scattered along the trail are areas with benches where you can take in the views of Pioneer Peak and the Chugach Mountains. About halfway through the hike, at the opposite side of the lake, is an elevated viewing stand, where users can get 360-degree views of the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge and the mountains. This wildlife viewing platform provides some of the best views in Southcentral Alaska.
The area is also noteworthy for bird viewing and seeing some of Alaska's wildflowers in full bloom. The lake is also good for families looking for easy access to lake fishing.
Reflections Lake is a year-round destination as well. In the winter, the trail is very popular with cross-country skiers and snowshoers, and ice skating on the lake itself.
Reflections Lake is also a success story in a community building a world-class outdoor recreation area. Originally, it was a gravel pit used for construction of the Glenn Highway, and through the years had become an eyesore of garbage, abandoned vehicles and junk appliances. In the early 2000s, the Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats nonprofit was formed, and it worked tirelessly to clean the area up, put in the trail and turn it into the amazing place it is today. The organization brought together other users of the hay flats, government agencies and other organizations to work together. It all come together and since then, has become a great place to get outside, hike and enjoy the Valley's beauty.