“300 acres of Glacier viewing”
The Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site, managed by Long Rifle Lodge, is located one mile south of the Lodge at Mile 101 on the Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway. The recreation site has 12 campsites on a gravel loop road, water pump, toilets, fire pits, and picnic tables. The Edge Nature Trail begins at the rest area and provides a 20-minute walk through the forest to glacier viewing platforms. Summer activities include hiking, glacier trekking and river rafting. Winter activities include skiing, snowshoeing and snow machining. Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site is adjacent to the Glenn Highway Scenic Byway at milepost 101. Easy accessibility off the highway provides excellent views of the Matanuska Glacier which creates the headwaters of the Matanuska River. The 300 acre recreation site provides glacier viewing beginning at the parking lot and extends along the interpretive nature trail. Although no access is provided to the glacier from the recreation site it provides some of the safest and best public viewing opportunities within the area. The site is open until closed by winter snow and ice conditions.
Okay, so you drive by this place on the highway and you think its going to be a state park or government access situation. You get to the end of a dirt road and there is a house with some shady road blocks. You go in and it is pretty dingy, looks like a straight tourist trap and the lady behind the counter says that for $20 a person and the signing of a liability release form, you can go play on the glacier. We went in and left the first time we drove by, but on the way back to Anchorage we decided to do it. And I'm so glad we did. You pay, sign, and drive another mile or two up the road and park in a gravel lot. You think walk over metal grates, plywood, 2 x4's and around yellow cones up the the edge of the glacier. There are signs everywhere warning you that you are entering at your own risk. And you sure are. You can then step off of solid ground and you have yourself out on a glacier. With cracks, melting water, crevasses, caves, and calving ice. You need cramp-ons if you are really going to go up and explore. There were some tours that had people with ice-picks and climbing gear walking by. The army was even there doing a training exercise carrying people up and down the glacier. This is a wild glacier. Get out there and explore!
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