DID YOU KNOW THERE ARE MORE THAN 2,000 MILES OF TRAILS IN THE MAT-SU VALLEY?
Hike, bike, ski, snowshoe or ATV and snowmobile on this vast recreational system!
Below is a list of some of the more popular trail systems groups by geographic location. Glacier Country includes Palmer and the Glenn Highway north to Glacier View; Lake Country is the Wasilla and Big Lake area; Gold Rush Country is the Hatcher Pass area; and Denali country includes Willow, Talkeetna and Denali State Park areas.
Click on a trail to find trail maps, descriptions and the best time to go. Hit the trail!
Glacier Country Trails (Palmer/North Glenn Highway area)
"The Butte" is one of the most popular hikes in the Mat-Su Valley. It is a 1-mile climb to the top, with stairways in steep sections and a resting area halfway up. It is very popular for families - pack a picnic for the top, which has 360-degree views of the Valley...
Matanuska Peak Trail is a challenging 10-mile out-and-back hike just outside of Palmer. It is a popular trail with quite a bit of elevation gain. Make sure to be aware about wildlife in the area.
Pioneer Peak is an iconic mountain in the Chugach State Park. The challenging hike is 13.5 miles and features more than 6,500 elevation gain. The views from the top are stunning and worth the effort.
Long Lake Loop is part of the Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area. It's a popular trail among locals and is well maintained. It is open year-round and is popular for cross-country skiing in the winter.
Crevasse Moraine is a series of loops that interconnects to the Matanuska Greenbelt. There are more than 10 miles of trails that are easy to traverse, all varying in length. It is a popular spot for horseback riding and hiking in the summer, and cross-country skiing in the...
This 13-mile trail stretches from downtown Palmer to Moose Creek, following the old Alaska Railroad. It gets lots of use for hiking, cross-country skiing in the winter and horseback riding. You don't have to do the entire 13-mile stretch, as many just do a few miles in...
Purinton Trail, also known as Hicks Creek Trail, is near Sutton on the Glenn Highway. It is also an ATV trail, so be aware of motor vehicles. It's a popular winter trail as well.
Eska Falls is a challenging nearly 10 mile hike in Sutton. It's an out-and-back hike that has nearly 2,400 feet of vertical gain. The trailhead is somewhat secluded and tough to reach when the vegetation is overgrown.
Lazy Mountain is anything but lazy! This trail is very popular, yet challenging, and is centrally located near Palmer. Many trail runners use the route, as well as hikers and backpackers. It covers 3,000 vertical feet.
Lake Country Trails (Wasilla area)
Alcantra Loop is an easy loop of just over a mile long. It's near Larson Elementary School near Wasilla. There is a great disc golf course adjacent to the park, which also includes soccer fields and softball fields.
Wasilla Creek Trail is an easy, kid-friendly trail. This out-and-back trail is less than a mile long and has a wide boardwalk. It is accessible by those who require mobility assistance.
Lake Lucille Loop is an easy 1.5-mile loop very close to Wasilla. It's great for kids and those looking to get interested in hiking.
Scout Ridge Trail is an easy 1.5-mile hike in the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge, with great views of the Chugach Mountains. It is open year-round.
Hatcher Pass Trails
Reed Lakes Trail is a picturesque trail in Hatcher Pass. The first part is easy and it turns into a moderately difficult hike the farther you go. It's an out-and-back hike that is popular among locals.
Gold Mint Trail is an out-and-back hike of approximately 6 miles. It's a popular trail for hiking, backpacking and trail running.
Summit Lake in Hatcher Pass is short, but the drive to it is worth it alone. At the top of Hatcher Pass, there are amazing views. The trail is just .6 miles and is ideal for families and dog walking.
Blueberry Knoll is located at Government Peak Recreation Area, at the base of Hatcher Pass. The 4-mile hike is great for families and is moderately challenging.
April Bowl Trail in Hatcher Pass has spectacular views! It's a moderately challenging hike of just more than two miles. In late summer, the area has great berry picking opportunities.
Gold Cord Lake Trail is near Independence Mine State Historical Area in Hatcher Pass. It's an easy hike, with some elevation gain, that leads to Gold Cord, an alpine lake.
Government Peak Recreation Area is a gem of a trail system with several loops. It totals four miles, and the trails are wide and well maintained. In the winter, the Nordic skiing at Government Peak is among the best in the state. In the summer, watch for wildlife.
Marmot Mountain is filled with great views in Hatcher Pass. It's a moderate 1.3 mile hike from the trailhead (2.6 miles round trip) with nearly 2,000 feet of elevation gain.
The hike to Mint Hut is via Gold Mint Trail and is a challenging hike to an iconic hut in the Talkeetna Mountains. Be prepared for bugs and wildlife along the route, and plan accordingly for the 18-mile roundtrip hike.
Talkeetna Area Trails
Talkeetna Lake Trail is an easy loop close to Talkeetna. It's a very popular trail for birding and walking. It's a local favorite. In the winter it's popular for snowshoeing and Nordic skiing.
Otter Loop Trail is an easy 2-mile loop around Otter Lake. In the summer, it is good for birding, and in the winter the cross-country skiing is typically good.
Denali State Park Area Trails
Curry Ridge Trail is a 6.5 mile trail with spectacular views of the Alaska Range. It is in Denali State Park and can be accessed from Kesugi Ken Campground.
This 4.8 mile loop in Denali State Park is great for backpacking and camping, and there are public-use cabins along the route. It circles Byers Lake in Denali State Park and is easily accessible via the Parks Highway (Highway 3).
This 30-mile trail is in Denali State Park and offers spectacular views of the Alaska Range and Denali. It is more an expedition-style backpacking trip, however, you don't have to hike the entire length. There are several access points, including Byers Lake Trail, Little Coal...
Little Coal Creek Trail is in Denali State Park and is a moderately challenging hike that rewards users with great views of the Alaska Range.