Alaska - Matanuska Glacier

Introduction:

What? : Matanuska Glacier is a valley glacier, 27 miles long by 4 miles wide, it is the largest glacier accessible by car in the United States. There are guided tours that will take you hiking over the glacier although you can also visit without a guide but then you will not walk on the glacier.

 

Where? : Located near hwy 1 about 100 miles north-east of Anchorage.

Google Map Link





 

RV Park: We spend our first night at Alaska at Grand View Cafe and RV Park (https://www.grandviewrv.com/).

This is small RV site located right on hwy 1.

Almost no traffic at night so no noise problems + we were very tired from our VERY long day, flying in from California, getting the RV and driving from Anchorage.

I made reservation in advance and we call to notifying on late arrival and ask about hookup (this was our first ever RV experience).

This RV park has excellent location for early start visit to the nearby Matanuska Glacier.


 

My thoughts: hiking on the glacier was one of the most memorable experience at our Alaska trip!

This was excellent way to start our Alaska trip.

 

The visit:

You can enter the private glacier park with your car and hike to the wall front of the glacier, but I highly recommend taking a guided tour.

 

Warning: Unless you really know what you are doing and have the right equipment do not hike over the glacier without a guide !


 

We booked well in advance our glacier tour at MICA Guides (https://micaguides.com/).

We took a dedicated guide to our family (5 people) and he “tune” the hike to our needs and asks.

 

We booked the Advanced Trek:

This is a full day of glacial exploration and hiking activity.

This is approximately 5 hours long and you must be able to comfortably walk 5 miles to enjoy this tour.

You start your day at their office with getting the gear and safety explanations, follow by a short drive in their van to the glacier park.

After you enter the private Matanuska Glacier Park Resort you will keep driving to the parking area at the end of the gravel road (you can get to this point without a guide).

In this section before the glacier you will explore the debris and blackened ice section of the retrieving glacier.



Because we were a small group and OK with hiking our guide took us more into the glacier section far away from any other group.

Only after 2 mile hiking you actually start to hike on the glacier itself, than you need to ware your ice crampons on your walking shoes (I’m almost sure you get a proper shoes as part of your gear).

During our few hours slow hike on top of the glacier we saw deep moulins tunnels, crevasses, ice cliffs and blue water pools, we also parked for short and light lunch break. The guide was very informative and share his expertise and knowledge about this unique place.




 

Although it looks difficult or dangerous at first this is not the case, you don’t need any pre-visit specialized skills for this trek, just a basic level of fitness and an ability to walk with crampons.

Anyone with basic shape can do it and the guide will tune the distance and difficulty level to the group ability.

 

This was one of the top Alaska trip highlights, highly recommended!


 

Tip and remarks:

- Book a trip reservation as early as you can, we had to change our trip visit order to fit this into our schedule. This is the reason we drove up north from Anchorage and after this day we went back down south heading to Homer.

- The night before we slept at Grand View Cafe & RV Park (looks like this is the only RV park near Matanuska Glacier ?).

- Aim to have a small group, a “private” guide to your family is the best. We saw some large 15-20 peoples group and it looks less fun and much slower progress. When tackling difficult sections, you will need to wait for longer time.



- it started called and with light rain but soon it transforms to a nice warm summer day, thing that add to the experience. You can have a rainy day so plan accordingly and bring raincoat and warm clothes with you.

- Try start you visit as early as you can, we had it 10:00a - 5:00pm

- Usually guide fee does not include the 30$/person private park entrance or guide tip.

- Bring some light food with you for the hike.

- Bring backpack with you for warm cloth, water and food.

- Summer fee for an unguided access to the glacier is $30, The start of the glacier is about a 20 minutes’ walk from parking.

 

Pictures:








































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