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Outdoor Activities in Palmer


Palmer's Great Outdoors!
Palmer is the gateway to Alaska's foremost recreation area with campgrounds, lakes, glaciers and rivers—a fact long recognized and little publicized by local Alaskans. On a typical weekend, Anchorage residents desert that bustling "metropolis" in droves to converge on the mountains, streams and lakes of the nearby Palmer- area.

Trails – Hiking, Sking & Biking
If you take your pleasure afoot, you will be delighted with the many and varied hiking and ski trails in the Valley. Popular hikes include Bodenburg Butte, Lazy Mountain and Mt. Vigor, south and west of Palmer, and Reed Lakes and The Pinnacle, north of Palmer at Hatcher Pass. Hikes such as the Bodenburg Butter reward you with a 360 degree panoramic view of The Knik Glacier, The Talkeetna Mountains, The Chugach Range, The Matanuska River and, on a clear day, Mount Susitna.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s Parks & recreation Division has undertaken an ambitious trails program to open up the back country for outdoor enthusiasts who truly want to explore the country on their own by hiking or cross-country skiing. Trails include: Bodenburg Butte, Crevasse-Moraine, Lazy Mountain, Matanuska Peak, Mat-Su College Nature, and Morgan Horse and many more.


Suggested bicycle tours for individuals are the Springer Road system (paved), the Bodenburg Loop (paved), the Farm Loop (gravel), and Fishhook Road (paved). Bicycles to explore Palmer and its surrounding scenic area are available at the Palmer Visitor Center, at no charge.



Palmer is surrounded by mountains of the Chugach and Talkeetna Ranges. The small hump in front of Pioneer Peak is Bodenburg Butte, which is the dividing remnant between Kink and Matanuska Glaciers that once covered the Valley. Mount Marcus Baker, Matanuska Peak, and Lazy Mountain are also prominent points of interest.


For more information call the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Parks and Recreation Services at 745-9636.

or visit 



Driving around in the Valley, you can see several glaciers from various viewpoints, The Knik, Matanuska and Nelchina glaciers are the most visible. One of the few glaciers in the world you can drive to and explore on foot in the Matanuska Glacier near Mile 101 Glenn Highway (about 1 – 1 ¼ hour’s drive from Palmer). Access to this spectacular, 27 mile wide glacier is through private Matanuska Glacier Park Resort (admission charged). At the base, the glacier is about four miles wide. Flight services from Palmer are available to Knik Glacier.


Visit these website for more information and trip options



In the winter, Moose congregate on the Palmer Hay Flats Game Refuge along the Glenn Highway, around the area of the bridges crossing the Knik and Matanuska Rivers. Newcomers are advised to always drive carefully and to be alert for moos dashing unexpectedly onto the roadways.

Bear, wolves, coyotes, fox and lynx are occasionally seen in the woods around Palmer. Wolves travel on old established routes through the Valley toward the interior of Alaska. Sheep and goats can frequently be spotted on the mountain sides. Muskrat and beaver occupy many of the area’s waters. The quiet observer, sitting by one of the many ponds in the wetlands near Palmer, is often treated to the appearance of one or the other crossing the water.

Salmon end their long journey to spawn and ensure the continuation of their species in the many streams around Palmer in late summer. An accessible viewing point is along Bodenburg Creek, off the old Glenn Highway.


During late April, the open fields around Palmer provide a rest stop for ducks, geese, swans and cranes on their northerly migration. Watch for them, as well as for an occasional bald eagle and peregrine falcon, and listen for the hoot for an owl in the late evening.


for more infomration visit

or any of the above websites for wildlife viewing opportunities


Fishing & Boating

Palmer, is a series of fishing lakes which are both popular and productive. The area ‘s fishery resources seem to have something to offer for just about everyone. Lake fishing definitely receives top billing in the fertile farmlands that border  the community of Palmer. All lakes in the Kepler-Bradley system are stocked with rainbow trout. You can catch landlocked silver salmon in Echo and Victor lakes.

The Palmer Visitor Center will gladly give you directions to the following and other good spots: Matanuska Lake, Echo Lake and Kepler-Bradley Lakes, Harriet Lake, Irene Lake, Long Lake, Victor Lake, Canoe Lake, Meier Lake, Finger Lake, Seventeen Mile Lake, and Wishbone Lake.


For more information also visit