Originating within the Chugach Mountain Range, the Matanuska Glacier can enhance your Anchorage itinerary. At about 26 miles long and four miles wide, it is the largest glacier in Alaska that is accessible by vehicle. While many areas in Alaska are not known for their reliable weather, the Matanuska Glacier has an impressive ability to push warm air up, leading to a sunny, enjoyable climate.
Your best bet for experiencing the glacier up close is to visit the 229-acre (93-hectare) Matanuska Glacier Park, where you’ll be able to park your car right next to the natural attraction. From there, hike onto the glacier or even go ice-climbing (guides are recommended for both), truly memorable Alaska experiences. Around the glacier and within the park are also trekking routes with viewing platforms. That being said, it’s visible from the surrounding Glenn Highway Scenic Byway, making it a popular roadside attraction.
While the Matanuska Glacier is the highlight of the drive from Anchorage, there are a number of not-to-miss attractions along the way. These include the Eagle River Nature Center, the historic Eklutna Village, Musk Ox Farm and the famous Lion’s Head Trail, a challenging trek awarding aerial views of the glacier from 2,000 feet (610 m).
The Matanuska Glacier is located about two hours outside of Anchorage via the Glenn Highway. Admission to see the glacier is $20 per person. Make sure to dress in layers, and be prepared to walk through brush, rivers and uneven terrain.