Matanuska Peak Trail


Armed with a fuzzy map without details and some verbal discriptions from friends, we eagerly set forth one morning for our first climb on the Matanuska Peak Trail, Palmer, Alaska. We knew it would be tough, it was 4 miles to the summit and a 5670 feet climb, but we planned to go at least part of the way and test ourselves. I was looking forward to photographing new scenery for use in future original paintings.


After some steep switchbacks the road leveled out and followed the McRoberts creek canyon, ending at a concrete storage unit and we could not see much of a trail beyond this point, if it was there it was very overgrown and not something we were prepared for. We reluctantly headed back down the road. Part way down the mountain we were startled by a young moose as he jumped from the bushes onto the road no more than 20 feet ahead and darted into the undergrowth on the other side.

As we hiked down the last section of road near the parking area I noticed a small brown post in the ground off to my right next to a narrow footpath. On closer inspection we saw tiny lettering identifying “Matanuska Peak” with an arrow pointing up the path! Is this the Matanuska Peak trail, or were we on the real trail? Later, we were told that we were on the right trail and should have crossed the creek. We will have to try again soon.

Gail Niebrugge, Alaska Artist

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  1. stephanie says:

    you were on the correct trail the first time. that storage unit you found was what i have heard called a “water intake station”. i believe it’s a hydroelectric project someone has a state permit to run. the trail is off to the left of that building in the picture. you do not cross the creek. you keep to the left of it the entire way up the gorge. it then curves sharply to the right as does the trail as it heads straight towards the peak. the trail itself is very overgrown and very wet. i am in decent shape, but not an athlete and it was a good solid hour of climbing upwards through that dense, dark, brushy trail before i broke out into the alpine meadow (mcroberts valley) right below the peak. it is astonishingly beautiful. as an artist you would appreciate the views. but this trail is very difficult so be prepared. i believe the small trail right before the parking lot you found was the morgan horse trail which begins at the lazy mtn. trailhead (off clark/wolverine rd) and intersects the matanuska peak trail-continuing over maud road and eventually ending around the butte.

  2. Stephanie;

    Oh my gosh! Thank you for the “heads up” about the real trail and its difficulty. We were told it was pretty easy to get to the alpine meadow. I guess I shouldn’t be talking to twenty somethings when I’m planning my hikes :). I will try it someday soon, but I’ll be better prepared with your great directions.

    Thanks again!


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