Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area
Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area is a hidden gem of the Alaska State Parks system. It is popular among fisherman, mountain bikers and hikers due to it encompassing a region filled with lakes, trails and more.
Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area is located just south of Palmer. Visitors coming from Anchorage should follow Highway 2 (Glenn Highway) just past its intersection with Highway 3 (Parks Hwy). The entrance to the parking lot is at Mile 36.4 Glenn Highway, which opens up to a parking lot where Matanuska Lake is located.
Fishing is a very popular activity, and you'll find landlocked salmon, grayling, stocked and wild trout and Dolly Varden throughout the system. Try Canoe, Matanuska, Kepler, Irene and Long Lakes in particular. There is a strict non-motorized policy on all of these lakes, so float tubes, canoes and kayaks are your best bet.
Hiking & Biking
Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area connects to a series of trails in the area known as the Matanuska Greenbelt. Among the trails in the system are the Crevasse Moraine Trail System, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Experimental Farm trails and the University of Alaska Anchorage trail system. These trails vary in length, but all are inter-connected with several access points.
There are more than 30 miles of trails open to the public, and they are among the best biking trails in the Valley as well. The area also is popular with geocachers, so if heading out on the trail, make sure to bring a GPS - you might find a surprise!