The Matanuska-Susitna Valley, known as the Mat-Su, is one of Alaska’s foremost recreation areas. It has over 23,000 square miles of unspoiled mountains, lakes, and glaciers with unlimited opportunity for camping, hiking and adventure. On a typical weekend, Anchorage residents desert that bustling “metropolis” in droves to converge on the Mat-Su.
Palmer and Wasilla are the two largest towns in the Matanuska Valley while Talkeetna is a charming little town, full of great restaurants and fun things to do. Talkeetna is also used as a base camp for tourists and climbers alike to access North America’s tallest peak, Denali (Mt. McKinley). A flightseeing trip to Denali will undoubtedly be a highlight of your trip. Wasilla is also home to the Iditarod Headquarters, where you can learn about the dogs and the Mushers who compete in this incredible annual race.
The many farms found here will convince you this is the state’s agricultural center. It yields almost two-thirds of Alaska’s produce. The fertile area is known for growing huge, award winning vegetables, many of which can be seen each year at the Alaska State Fair, held in Palmer in the Fall.
In 1935, as part of the New Deal, 203 families from the Midwest traveled to Alaska and started the Matanuska Valley Colony. Families were specifically chosen from the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, due to their similarly cold winter climates. Many of these families still have descendents in the area.