This 27-mile-long and 4-mile-wide valley glacier is the largest glacier that can be reached by car in the U.S., and happens to be just a one-hour drive from the DZ! To get there, follow the Glenn Highway north-east to milepost marker 102, and on the right you'll see a dirt road leading down the hill to the park entrance. Since this area is privately owned, there is a $25 fee to enter. Once you've paid your fee, they'll tell you where to drive and you'll park a ways in front of the glacier. Once there, it's about 1/3 mile walk to the glacier. You can walk and hike on and around the glacier, but make sure you're outfitted with good boots that can get wet and something warm to wear if it's windy or overcast. There are a few options for guided tours, which can be nice but are not necessary. Words fail to describe how awe-inspiring it is to be on this glacier. It's like nowhere you've ever been before, and if only for a moment, you may feel like you've entered another world. It's truly awesome and a definite recommend. 907-745-2534. 30820 W Glenn Hwy, Sutton, AK. www.matanuskaglacieradventures.us
Thunderbird Falls Trail
On your drive from Anchorage to Palmer, at about halfway - you'll pass an exit for Thunderbird Falls. If you find yourself with a bit of extra time, go ahead and pull off for an easy 1-mile hike with only 175' elevation gain to the viewing deck of a 200' waterfall. For just a little extra effort, you can turn off the main trail to get down next to the river near the base of the falls, giving you another nice perspective of the waterfall.