Glaciers in the Mat-Su
HOW TO SEE & EXPLORE MAT-SU GLACIERS UP CLOSE
In many parts of Alaska one can see glaciers, but in the Mat-Su Valley, you can actually get out and touch one. Adventure seekers will be thrilled with the ice climbing options. Alaska Glacier treks and boat trips are ideal for families. And for a rare lifetime opportunity, land on a glacier via flightseeing plane at Denali's base camp.
The Matanuska Glacier (2 hours from Anchorage)
The Matanuska Glacier is one of Alaska's most spectacular glaciers, is also one of the oldest. It looms 13,000 feet high over the Glenn Highway, is 27 miles long, stretches four miles across and is easily seen at Mile 101 Glenn Highway. Access to this glacier is through Glacier Park, a private concessionaire. Drive the two miles from the park gate to the moraine to set foot on the ice. For a safe alternative, hire a local guide who can outfit you with proper gear and lead you on a glacier trek to blue lakes and ice caves. Bring the sunscreen and water bottle to fill up on icy, glacier water!
The Knik Glacier (1 hour from Anchorage)
The Knik Glacier averages about 200 feet thick. Its face is about three miles long at the head of Knik River. Before the great earthquake of 1964, Knik Glacier used to seal off Lake George Gorge causing Lake George to form. Each spring, the water would erode the glacier ice dam and as much as 150 million gallons of water per minute would begin to pour through the gorge, at times forming a wall of water 150 feet high. Visitors can enjoy viewing this natural wonder on an air boat, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or flightseeing trip. Stay the night at local area lodges for the ultimate glacier experience.
Flightseeing the Glaciers of Alaska
Alaska is one of the few places in the world where you can land on a glacier. For the best views, a flightseeing tour of the glaciers surrounding Mt. McKinley, including Ruth Basin and Tokasitna Glacier is the way to go. During certain times of the year, pilots land on the Kahiltna and Ruth Glaciers, allowing passengers to walk safely on the icy rivers below. Ideal months for a glacier landing are in early summer or early fall when the temperatures are cooler. This is truly a spiritual experience and sure to be one of your trip's highlights.