Located in Alaska, The Matanuska glacier is one of the few glaciers named. It is believed that Matanuska comes from -Russian- “Matanooski” or “Mednoviska,” meaning “cooper river people,” possibly referring to the Indian Athabascan people that used to live in this region. This glacier stretches down from the Chugach Mountains to the Glenn Highway and into the Matanuska River. The Matanuska remains an active glacier and is the most popular roadside attraction between Glennallen and Anchorage.

The Matanuska glacier is less than two hours north of Anchorage. In order to get there, you will have to drive to Glenn Highway until you reach Mile 102. Then you’ll find a sign that says “glacier access,” so you must turn onto Glacier Park Road and drive for one mile. Then, you’ll cross a bridge, and when you least expect it, you will have arrived at the Glacier Park Lodge.

The Matanuska Glacier Park controls access to the Matanuska glacier. This privately owned business manages the area and charges a fee to enter. The fee covers the maintenance of the roads and bridges used to access the Matanuska.

Once you get to the Glacier Park Lodge, you will have to stop and go to the visitor center to check in, sign a waiver and pay your fee. Then, the gate will open, and you’ll be able to access the road to the glacier. The road is quite rustic, so make sure you drive precariously.

Suppose you’re feeling adventurous and want to go on a hike. In that case, The Matanuska Glacier Trail is a 2.6 km loop trail, and it takes around 35 minutes to complete depending on weather conditions and abilities. This trail is famous for rock climbing, hiking, and walking, but you can still enjoy a quiet experience during calm times of the day. Dogs on a leash are welcome to join the trail!

This is a valley glacier, meaning that it consists of streams of flowing ice that create the Matanuska River’s headwaters. The Matanuska glacier worlds a weather hole that propels warm valley air upwards naturally. Thanks to this phenomenon, you can expect sunnier skies and warmer days compared to the rest of the Mat-Su Vally, making this glacier a premier destination for people seeking glacial adventures.

30820 West Glenn Highway, Sutton-Alpine, AK 99674.