Hike Matanuska Glacier
Alaska › Matanuska Glacier
Added by Mike Mueller
- Easily accessible glacier if you're traveling along the highway
- This is the largest glacier accessible by car in the United States, great if you're limited on time and passing through
- The glacier is 26 miles long and 4 miles wide
- The ease of access means there can be a fair amount of people checking it out
The glacier is adjacent to the Glenn Highway at milepost 101. Located about 93 miles northeast of Anchorage. There is a $20 entry fee where you can park your car and take a quick hike to the glacier. A campsite is located at the entrance if you care to stay overnight, but this can be done in an afternoon.
From the parking lot it is an easy hike through the glacier outwash. Once you get to the terminus, you can continue to hike along the glacier. Not the most intense of hikes (far from it), but the ease of access to this glacier make it worthwhile and a definite stopover if driving on the Glenn Highway.
- Warm hiking clothes
- Crampons (if possible)
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Bring your ice cramp ons and have fun exploring! Stay away from the muddy sections and try to follow routes that are already there. If you don't have glacier experience, review some glacier safety guidelines online. I've been here twice with cramp ons and without. It was definitely more fun with the cramp ons. If you don't have any, you can rent them from REI in Anchorage for $10/day I believe. :)
It was hot, then it was cold.
I went by the glacier in June so it was pretty warm outside, but as soon as my foot touched the ice I was freezing. I had to put on 2 more Jackets! But it was so beautiful, and slippery. So be cautious.
Experienced this great place in July. Located in a little community called Glacier View, definitely worth the trip out if you find yourself driving on the Glenn Highway. It was not very clearly marked, but luckily we had the "Milepost" (If you ever travel in Alaska, get this book! Hands down the best guide to the road system out there. Updated every year.) which helped us out. Turn down a little dirt road which leads down to the river/ glacier. You have to stop at the store/ visitor center before you can gain entry past the gate. I will say the prices were a little steep. ($20 entrance fee per person as well as a camping fee of $15 per person) because the designated camp sites are overgrown and littered with many kinds of animal droppings. But good news! The people behind the counter said we could camp in the parking lot for the glacier, and thats what we did. Much better view and more places to pitch a tent. Just know the parking lot fills up super quick in the mornings with all sorts of people and guided tours and whatnot. If you have crampons bring them, or rent them. We did not have any but we made it out a good distance with trekking poles walking mainly on the ice that had gravel on top. Once out onto the bare ice it was a little slick but manageable. Spend time watching little streams of melted glacial water as well as the many hikers and ice climbers. If you can make it to the more central part, where the river starts flowing out of the glacier, the views are amazing. The light blue color and striations of the ice are something indescribable. Totally worth it. Do it if you have the chance.
Absolutely beautiful! I definitely recommend having waterproof boots as there are areas that get really wet, and little streams to cross. Crampons are extremely helpful if you are going back into the glacier, but not necessary if you stay on the main areas. Have a camera, and sunglasses! The ice, cravases and peaks are so breathtaking. Also, if you can go on a more cloudy day it is easier to see/take pictures! I have been 3 times now and it is always a fun time! Enjoy!!
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