Welcome to the Mat-Su
Brought to you by the Mat-Su Convention & Visitors Bureau
Taking in amazing views of Denali. Trekking on a glacier. Hiking in the backcountry. Mushing your own team of Iditarod huskies. Relaxing and sipping a glass of wine from an award-winning lodge. These are all things people dream about doing when they visit Alaska, and you can find them all in one place – the Mat-Su Valley.
The Matanuska-Susitna Valley (Mat-Su, for short) is the perfect base camp for your Alaska vacation. Starting just 45 minutes north of Anchorage and stretching all the way to Denali National Park & Preserve, the Mat-Su Valley has everything you dream of seeing in Alaska.
The “Core Area”
Wasilla and Palmer are the region’s two largest communities located just 45 minutes north of Anchorage. Palmer is the agricultural hub of Alaska where the famous giant vegetables are grown. It’s also the home of the Alaska State Fair. Wasilla, meanwhile, is a hub of commerce and home to the Iditarod Headquarters, where you can learn about the dog race and meet an Iditarod musher and his puppies. With great microbreweries, family-owned restaurants and accessible outdoor recreation just minutes away, don’t miss these two communities.
Hatcher Pass is just minutes from Palmer and is a step back in time. Independence Mine was the country’s largest gold mine until World War II, and today, you can tour the mine nestled in the alpine meadows of the Talkeetna Mountains. The area has some of the best hiking trails in Alaska with breathtaking views of the valleys below.
The town of Talkeetna, off Highway 3 (Parks Highway), is a must visit destination. This tiny town has a huge personality. It’s where all the Denali climbers start their expedition. Spend a few nights at Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge or a quaint B&B or cabins and take a flightseeing trip around Denali – you can land on a glacier on the mountain for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Or take a jetboating or river rafting trip with views of the Alaska Range. Stop in at Talkeetna Roadhouse for their famous cinnamon rolls and cap your stay with a half-day fishing trip. Then, continue north to Denali State Park for backpacking, kayaking or hiking experiences.
While not labeled on many maps, the community of Glacier View, two hours north of Anchorage on Highway 1 (Glenn Highway) is not to be missed. Matanuska Glacier is Alaska’s largest road-accessible glacier, and you can trek on the timeless ice by yourself or with a glacier guide. Small roadhouses, flight tours, ATV tours and luxury camping (glamping) make this region uniquely Alaskan.
With more than 23,000 square miles to explore, make plans to spend a few days in the Mat-Su Valley. The weather in the summer is perfect, in the 60s and 70s, and there are adventures around every bend in the road. Mat-Su events take place throughout the summer, including Colony Days and the Alaska State Fair, adding to your experience. For a free vacation guide, visit the Mat-Su Convention & Visitors Bureau website at www.alaskavisit.com.