Matanuska Peak is one of South Central Alaska's favorite hikes. The 6,119 foot peak is reachable in a fully day by energetic hikers; a trip part-way to the Matanuska Peak Bowl is equally rewarding.
The trailhead departs from a Smith Road neighborhood and begins on a wide packed-dirt path. The official trail departs to the left (follow signs) while the wider path continues on a steep uphill towards a micro-hydro power project on McRoberts Creek, where the trails converge again. The trail continues uphill through thick alders alongside McRoberts Creek. Hikers should make noise (sing, talk loudly, call out periodically) while moving through brush with limited visibility as a precaution to scare away bears. After about two miles, the trail leaves the forest and opens into the gorgeous Matanuska Peak Bowl, following McRobert's Creek uphill into a wide valley surrounded by jagged peaks. Delicious wild blueberries can be found here during their season.
At the end of the bowl, hikers will reach a picnic table, which is a great spot to take a break before the hike down or before pushing on to the summit. The final miles are a strenuous uphill over scree slopes and rugged boulder fields. The hike to the peak is strenuous and involves some rock-hopping but there are no major drop-offs or dangerous exposure. From the top of Matanuska Peak, enjoy the views of the Matanuska Valley, Matanuska River and nearly Lazy Mountain.
Rules & Regulation
A parking fee of $5 per vehicle, or a $40 annual pass is required at this trailhead.
Parking passes can be purchased at trailhead or through this link. https://ecommerce.matsugov.us/Pages/CD/AnnualParking.aspx