Published on July 1, 2022
Mat-Su Accessible and Family Friendly Trails
Mat-Su Trails & Parks Foundation
The gravel-surfaced trail meanders .4 miles through boreal forest and over a mountain stream before descending to a picnic table with at the bottom of Pioneer Loop. The picnic table is complete with a checker/chessboard and pieces and would arguably be the site of the most picturesque game of checkers ever played provided you can tear your eyes from the expansive views of Pioneer Peak.
Directions: From Palmer take the Palmer-Fishhook Road toward Hatcher Pass. At mile 7, turn left onto Edgerton Parks Road. Drive one mile. Take a right on Mountain Trails Drive, the parking area and main trailhead is past the gate. Google Map Directions.
Gate: The gate at the bottom of Mountain Trails Drive opens at 8 am and closes at 10 pm.
The sun's out and the views are never-ending on the Reflections Lake Trail. This ADA and Stroller-friendly 1-mile trail just off the Glenn Highway is perfect for a lunchtime or after-dinner walk. The lake sits at the confluence of Knik and Matanuska Rivers, and the trail offers lots of well-placed benches, wide paths, and interpretive panels allowing the whole family to enjoy Alaska's long sunny days out on the trails!
Directions: Mile 30 on Glenn Highway at Knik River Access Exit. Park at the maintenance road for a short walk directly to the lake. Google Map Directions.
Parking: Parking spaces are limited. No parking pass required.
Close to Palmer, this park contains an excellent campground, playground, pavilions, and provides access to the Matanuska Branch RR Palmer-Mouse Creek Rail Trail.
The park contains 86 spaces for tents or RVs (including 20 caravan sites), a central comfort station featuring flush toilets and hot showers, an RV dump station, picnic tables, grills, four park pavilions, playground equipment, a horseshoe pit, a sand volleyball court, trails, river access, an observation deck, parking areas, a campfire area, firewood, and a group camping area.
Please note that the park is closed seasonally. During winter, trails can be accessed by parking outside the gate and walking in.
Settlers Bay Coastal Park is the newest park in the Matanuska Susitna Borough. It is 295 acres of rolling up lands and coastal plain, with most of it being designated as a non-motorized conservation area. This park is a work in progress with new trails and amenities being added over the next few years.
The trails at Settlers Bay Coastal Park are part of 295 acres of land that was donated to the Mat Su Borough by the Greatland Trust as a conservation easement. The first formal trails started to be built in summer 2019 with more trails being added over the next few years. The long-term plan calls for easy gravel paths, mountain bike single track, and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant trails. All attempts will be made to groom these trails during the winter as snow conditions allow.
Alcantra Athletic Complex is a central green area with wide, paved trails, a wooded disk-golf course, baseball and soccer fields and pavilions. A great place for a short walk for those nearby.
The Newman Memorial Park is home to miles of summer and winter trails, a one-of-a-kind fenced wilderness dog park, and a large covered pavilion with a beautiful lake overlook. Volunteers with the Willow Area Community Organization have contributed countless hours to this area and its trails.
The Newman Park Trailhead provides access to the Pat Newman Memorial Park Trails, a network of trails in and near the Willow Creek State Recreation Area. The trailhead can be reached by turning west on the Willow Creek Parkway (near mile 71 of the Parks Highway) and traveling approximately 1 mile before turning left on the driveway to the new community park. The dog park can be found at the parking lot immediately prior to the Newman Park Trailhead. Trails north of the Willow Creek Parkway are designated as non-motorized.
Meadow Lakes Playground and Sports Complex
Meadow Lakes Park is located at 1205 N. Kim Drive in Meadow Lakes Alaska. It is a 34-acre park of which 22 acres has been developed. The remaining 12 acres is woodland with a hidden stream and walking trails. The park is bordered by 120 acres of Mat-Su Borough undeveloped land and 80 acres of partially developed state land.
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