March 22, 2019 | Barb Huntley
The Mat-Su Valley is made up of the following cities and towns: Big Lake, Chickaloon, Hatcher Pass, Matanuska Glacier, Palmer, Skwentna, Sutton, Talkeetna, Trapper Creek, Wasilla, and Willow. The Valley spans over 23,000 square miles – so you can only imagine the entire wilderness within those boundaries!
Denali State Park– Great for hiking, wildlife spotting, and the best views of Denali. The park is in the undeveloped wilderness, and hiking routes are not always clearly marked.  The park is not advisable for first-time explorers to venture into alone!
Independence Mine State Historical Park– A vast abandoned gold mine at the top of Hatcher Pass. Seven hundred sixty-one total acres of picture-perfect scenery. Great for cross-country skiing, sledding, and snowmobiling in the winter and hiking in the spring and summer.
Lake Louise State Recreation Area – The 90-acre recreation area lies at the south end of Lake Louise and, along with adjoining Susitna Lake, extends over 37 square miles. This is Alaska's largest lake system that is accessible by road! It offers excellent year-round fishing. Anglers can catch lake trout averaging 8-12 pounds and 20 pounders a commonly caught every year. Other spring and summer activities include camping, birding, biking, hiking and berry picking. In the winter, visitors can ice-fish, snowmobile, cross-country ski, skate and see the Northern Lights.
Matanuska Glacier– The largest glacier in the U.S. that can be reached by vehicle! It’s great for skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in the winter. In the summer it’s a favorite spot for glacier trekking, river rafting, and hiking.
Nancy Lake State Recreation Area– This park sits between the Susitna River and Talkeetna Mountains, only 67 miles north of Anchorage – great for a day trip! This area is flat and full of lakes. Fishing in the winter or summer is a common activity. In the winter cross country skiing, dog mushing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling are popular. In the summer grab a canoe and head out on the lakes!
Summit Lake State Recreation Area– 360 acres of high-altitude adventure as it sits at 3,886 feet above sea level. More difficult hiking routes scatter this area. Because of the altitude, snow is possible any time of the year, so hikers must always prepare properly. For the ski junkies, this is one of the best places for backcountry skiing and snowboarding. 


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