Visitors often ask about where’s the best place to see Alaska’s remarkable glaciers? Can you walk on them? How much does it cost? We’re here to answer those questions for visitors planning to go to the Matanuska Glacier.
The Matanuska Glacier is Alaska’s largest glacier accessible by car. The glacier can be found at Mile 102 on the Glenn Highway, a two-hour drive from Anchorage. Access is via a private campground and resort at Mile 102.
As one of the most impressive glaciers in the world, the Matanuska Glacier is approximately 27 miles long. Hiking on the glacier can be dangerous, so always plan to go with a buddy. The glacier is always changing, albeit at a glacial pace, but it is active with new cracks, crevasses, and underground streams that can create sudden glacier floods or ice avalanches.
Matanuska Glacier Hikes
There is a glacier access fee of $25, allowing you to take a self-guided hike, or you can hire a local guide to share their knowledge of the area and provide glacier trekking equipment, including crampons, helmets, and poles. This is a safer way to hike on the glacier and we recommend hiring a trained guide.
Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site.
At Mile 101 on the Glenn Highway, you’ll find the 300-acre Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site. Long Rifle Lodge manages it for the State of Alaska. The recreation site has 12 campsites on a gravel loop road, a water pump, toilets, fire pits, and picnic tables. A 20-minute Edge Nature Trail leads through the forest to glacier viewing platforms with interpretive signs on the Glacier and the Matanuska Valley. This is the safest way to view this spectacular destination.
Although no access is provided to the glacier from the recreation site, it provides some of the safest and best public viewing opportunities within the area.
Matanuska Glacier Activities
Summer activities include hiking, glacier trekking, and river rafting.
Winter activities include skiing, snowshoeing, and snow machining.
Matanuska Glacier FAQS
Can you visit Matanuska Glacier on your own?
Yes, Matanuska Glacier is easily accessible off the Glenn Highway, at mile 102. You will need a vehicle as it is a 2 hour drive from Anchorage. There are trails and viewpoint for visitors to enjoy. If you don’t plan to take a hike on the Glacier and only want a view of it, it is completely free to visit.
Is Matanuska Glacier free to Visit?
If you choose to take a hike right up to or onto the Matanuska Glacier, there is a $25 glacier access fee. If you are taking a guided tour, that will be an additional cost. We recommend hiring a professional guide, if you plan to hike on the glacier.
Can you walk on Matanuska Glacier without a tour?
Yes, it is possible to hike on Matanuska Glacier without joining a tour, or hiring a professional guide. But we do not recommend going hiking the glacier on your own.
How much time do you need at Matanuska Glacier?
If you only plan to view the glacier from afar, then 30 minutes to hike the trails, and enjoy the views should be enough. If you plan to access the glacier and take a hike you should give yourself a couple of hours. For those planning to hike on the glacier, you should hire a professional guide and the time of the tour will vary.