Matanuska glacier brings glacier hiking experience to everyone. Most of the other big glaciers in Alaska are not accessible by road. One has to hike several miles through rough terrain to get to glacier or has to take a boat ride to view the glacier. Glaciers accessible by boat are spectacular, but one can’t walk on them!
See the section ‘How to reach’ for details of directions and map. It was partly cloudy when I visited Matanuska. Sky was very dramatic. Sun was peeking out from gray clouds. Half hidden sun, cloudy sky was making glacier look turquoise. Later I learned from locals at Seward that cloudy day is the best day to see beauty of glaciers and not the bright sunny day! I realized that’s so true when I later looked at this photo.
We started hike around noon and spent couple hours exploring various parts. We almost reached one of the topmost spots from where we could look around and appreciate the scenery. One of the girl from our group fail from black ice into small stream of ice-cold water. Thankfully she wasn’t hurt and standing on her feet soon 🙂 So we decided to head back. We reached at the exact point from where this photo is clicked and we heard a loud sound of cracking/ breaking ice and soon realized it was glacier calving. That scared hell out of us. It was a moment to make one realize, how small humans are in front of nature! Now everyone was scared and our perspective changed. All of a sudden scenic beauty started looking horrifying. Cloudy sky started looking stormy and we quickly made our way back.
Matanuska glacier is a very famous attraction in Alaska. It bagged second spot in the list of 49 places to go in the 49th state by Alaska Magazine.
Largest glacier in Alaska that is accessible by road. Walking on glacier is unique experience. Here are Trip Advisor reviews.
How to reach
On Glenn Highway at mile post 102 (in fact in betn 102 and 103) turn off for Glacier Park Resort. A private road goes to a parking lot at the terminal moraine. Pay the access fees there, park your vehicle and head to a self-guided trail that takes them to the gravel-laced ice at the foot of the glacier. They have guided tours as well. Google maps link showing directions from Anchorage. Look for mile post 102 at Glenn Highway.
1. Keep at least 5-6 hours so you can explore.
2. Take enough food and water along.
3. Don’t forget sunglasses. Eye protection is must when sunlight reflects from ice.
4. Wear hiking shoes with firm grip.
5. Keep away from low areas. Those could be dangerous in case of flash floods
6. Beware of black ice, its dangerously slippery.
7. Wear colorful cloths so people can spot you easily if you need help.
8. Stay warm.