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Southcentral Mountains & Prince William Sound
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Southcentral Mountains & Prince William Sound


The Copper River Valley


Tok Cutoff (AK1/Glenn Highway) Gakona Junction to Tok

Glenn Highway (AK1) Palmer to Glenallen

South Richardson Highway (AK4) Valdez to Glenallen

Copper Center

Edgerton Highway (AK10) & Chitina

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve

McCarthy & Kennicott

Prince William Sound & Chugach National Forest

Cordova and the Copper River Delta



Glenn Highway (AK 1)/Palmer to Glenallen

Road Conditions and Attractions—155 miles. Good paved road with some tight turns and steep grades, open year-round. Talkeetna and Chugach mountain scenery, Matanuska Glacier, Sheep Mountain, Copper River basin with views of the Wrangell Mountains.

The Palmer-Glenallen segment of the Glenn Highway links Anchorage and the MatSu region to the Richardson Highway. It follows the course of the Matanuska River up between the Talkeetna and Chugach Mountains, then spills down into the broad Copper River basin. Several attractions are worth a stop, while a number of settlements, roadhouses, and state recreation area campgrounds accommodate the traveler. The highway actually begins in Anchorage.

Allot three to four hours with no long stops to complete this segment. Matanuska Glacier and Sheep Mountain are highlights, as are certain scenic areas near the divide and the long-distance views of the Copper River basin and Wrangell Mountains to the east.

George Parks Highway Junction (Mile 35.3)—The George Parks Highway (AK 3) heads west and north toward Denali and Fairbanks, while the Glenn continues south, 35 miles to Anchorage.

Palmer (Mile 42)—See Palmer.

Hatcher Pass Road Junction (Mile 49.5)—Turn north for Hatcher Pass and Independence Mine State Historic Park. (See chapter 9).

Musk Ox Farm Road (Mile 50.1)—See Palmer in chapter 9.

Moose Creek State Recreation Area (Mile 54.6)—Twelve campsites, $10.

Sutton (Mile 61)—On its way to becoming a satellite of the larger MatSu residential area, Sutton (population 328, 6 percent native) was established in 1918 as a station on the Matanuska Branch of the Alaska Railroad. There are a variety of services.

Alpine Historical Park (Mile 61.6)—This outdoor museum features area heritage items and the ruins of the Alpine Coal Washery, 745-7000. Donations are accepted.

King Mountain State Recreation Site (Mile 76.1)—Nice campground on the banks of the Matanuska River with 22 sites for $10 each.

Chickaloon (Mile 76.3)—Located at the confluence of the Chickaloon and Matanuska Rivers, Chickaloon (population 200, 6.2 percent native) was established around 1916 as the terminus of the Matanuska branch of the Alaska Railroad. Local retail and highway services occupy most residents. The community is fiercely independent regarding subsistence and sovereignty issues, issuing its own driver’s licenses and vehicle registration tags. Though there are few natives, it is a recognized native village with an established council, corporation, and land claims. Be considerate of private property rights when exploring any trails or side roads in the area.

Chickaloon Bed and Breakfast (Mile 76.5), 4 miles from General Store, Chickaloon, 745-1155, $85–$105. Large, private, quiet cottage with sundeck and mountain view.

Bonnie Lake State Recreation Site (Mile 83.2)—Turn up a short gravel road to reach eight free campsites.

Long Lake State Recreation Site (Mile 85.3)—Nine free campsites near the lake. Matanuska River access, great canyon scenery.

Matanuska Glacier (approximately Mile 91 to Mile 114)—Along this main route to Anchorage, no glacier comes closer to the highway than the Matanuska Glacier, source of the Matanuska River. The debris-covered tongue of the glacier can be seen below the road to the south, 2 miles away. There are several good viewpoints, including the official one at Mile 101. Private land, including the Glacier Park Resort, surrounds the glacier. For a fee you can drive to the terminal moraine and hike up to the ice. Easier, free access to near-the-highway glaciers can be found on the roads to McCarthy (Kennicott Glacier), Valdez (Worthington Glacier), and Seward (Exit Glacier), though the cross-valley view of the Matanuska, with the jagged Chugach Mountains in the background, is worth a long look and a photo.

Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site (Mile 101)—Twelve campsites, $10 each. Short trails and excellent views of the glacier.

Glacier Park Resort (Mile 102), Glenn Highway, Palmer, 745-2534. Owns land at terminus of glacier. Snacks and $50 rooms. It costs $6.50 per person to drive to the glacier.

Tundra Rose Bed-and-Breakfast (Mile 109.5), Glenn Highway (base of Sheep Mountain), Palmer, (800) 315-5865 (AK only), 745-5865. $90 double, $10 each additional guest. Closest B&B to Matanuska Glacier; Dall sheep–viewing access.

Sheep Mountain (approximately Mile 108 to Mile 118)—The mountain north of this stretch of road is a well-known area for Dall sheep sightings.

Sheep Mountain Lodge (Mile 113.5), Glenn Highway (base of Sheep Mountain), Palmer, 745-5121. $125 cabins (private bath), $50 for four-person "dorm" room (shared bath). Well-run rustic log lodge and cabins, dining room, bar, rafting, hiking trails, wildlife viewing.

Tahneta Pass (Mile 122, 3,000' elevation)—Another high point on the Glenn, the divide here is between two branches of the Matanuska watershed. Two high-country lakes are near the road—Leila and Tahneta.

Eureka Lodge (Mile 128), Glenn Highway, Glenallen, 822-3808. Opened 1936, first roadhouse on the Glenn. All services. Rooms $55 and up. RH

Eureka Summit (Mile 129.3, 3,222' elevation)—This is the divide between the Copper River basin and the Matanuska watershed, and the highest point on the Glenn Highway. There are good views of surrounding mountains.

Little Nelchina State Recreation Site (Mile 137.6)—Eleven free campsites, but no treated water source.

Lake Louise Road Junction (Mile 159.8)—Lake Louise offers fishing, hunting, and boating as well as year-round lodging and flightseeing opportunities. From the junction, a 20-mile gravel road leads to the lake where you’ll find four lodges (see the Appendix) and the Lake Louise State Recreation Area and campground. Canoeing, hiking, birding, and wildlife observation are options in the summer. Cross-country skiers can keep the snowmobilers company in the cold months. For information on Lake Louise lodging and outfitters, contact the Greater Copper Valley Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 469, Glenallen, 822-5555, www.alaskaoutdoors.com/Copper; or just stop in at the visitor center in Glenallen.

Ranch House Lodge (Mile 173), Glenn Highway, Glenallen, 822-3882. Rustic log lodge, bar, restaurant, cabins. Rooms are $50.

Tolsona Creek State Recreation Area (Mile 173)—Camping, fishing, creek access.

Glenallen (Mile 189)—Junction with the Richardson Highway (see Glenallen.