Kepler Park fall reflections in Palmer, Alaska.

Palmer Alaska

A rare Alaskan farming town boasting big veggies and even bigger mountain views.

View of Knik River Lodge and valley.

Palmer Alaska

A rare Alaskan farming town boasting big veggies and even bigger mountain views.

Running a sled dog team across the a high mountain glacier.

Palmer Alaska

A rare Alaskan farming town boasting big veggies and even bigger mountain views.

Hiking Pioneer Peak near Palmer Alaska.

Palmer Alaska

A rare Alaskan farming town boasting big veggies and even bigger mountain views.

Glacier landing helicopter adventure near Anchorage, Alaska.

Palmer Alaska

A rare Alaskan farming town boasting big veggies and even bigger mountain views.

Palmer

Unlike so many other Alaskan towns, the rural community of Palmer doesn't have a history rooted in gold mining, but rather one in farming. It was set up as an agricultural community for families voluntarily sent to the area under a government initiative during the Great Depression. What was then known as the Matanuska-Susitna colony was officially established under the Federal Emergency Relief Administration as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal. The community quickly grew as families flourished. Even today, Palmer is a rapidly growing town, with farming still at the heart of daily life.

The town itself has preserved much of its historic charm, with wooden storefronts and an old-fashioned "Main Street" home to a few shops and eateries. The Palmer Visitor Center is right in the downtown area. It's a good place to stop for information on things to do in the area. Palmer is also home to the Alaska State Fair, which takes place each August and offers plenty of carnival rides, foods, concerts, cultural events, and, best of all, giant Alaskan produce.

Palmer is quite scenic, with Pioneer Peak and the Knik Glacier Valley to the east and the Talkeetna Mountains to the northwest. Nearby activities take full advantage of this beautiful terrain. This includes touring Hatcher Pass, a recreational area home to the Independence Mine State Historical Park. Walk the mine site or take to one of the area's main trails to hike, mountain bike, or rock climb. The area's many mountains and abundant snowfall also make it a popular spot for snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, and snow machining.

While lodging is limited in Palmer, the area is home to one of the most accessible backcountry lodges. The Knik River Lodge is about 30 minutes away from downtown Palmer. The property, which features private cabins and fine dining, is tucked into a mountainside forest near the mouth of the Knik Glacier valley. Explorations by helicopter are available directly the from lodge to Knik Glacier, including glacier landings, heli-hiking, and dog sled tours.

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Farther afield, the mighty Matanuska Glacier is about an hour's drive east. Whitewater rafting, helicopter flightseeing, and guided hikes are just a few of the many other activities available.

Located just 45 miles northeast of Anchorage via the Glenn Highway, Palmer makes for an easy side trip. Visitors predominantly reach Palmer by rental car from Anchorage, Valdez, Copper Center, and occasionally Fairbanks.

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Palmer Alaska