Foggy morning in Palmer Alaska.

Things To Do in Palmer

Visit Alaska’s agricultural center in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering mountains.

Kepler Park fall reflections in Palmer, Alaska.

Things To Do in Palmer

Visit Alaska’s agricultural center in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering mountains.

View of Knik River Lodge and valley.

Things To Do in Palmer

Visit Alaska’s agricultural center in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering mountains.

Musk ox in field of flowers in Palmer, Alaska.

Things To Do in Palmer

Visit Alaska’s agricultural center in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering mountains.

Fireweed with Knik Glacier in the background.

Things To Do in Palmer

Visit Alaska’s agricultural center in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering mountains.

Palmer & Knik River Valley Things to Do

Palmer was settled as an agricultural colony during the Depression era when families from the midwest migrated north as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal. Now a bedroom community of Anchorage, Palmer is a quaint town with distinctive restaurants, shops, and activities reflecting an active farming culture. An excellent way to begin a visit is at the Palmer Museum and Visitor Center where exhibits explain the colonists' arrival and the benefits of farming under the famous Midnight Sun.

Many people marvel at the size and abundance of vegetables grown in Alaska, so a drive around Palmer farms can offer some insight into the short but vibrant growing season. In August, Palmer hosts the Alaska State Fair, which includes events highlighting farming and ranching in the Matanuska Valley.

Tucked against the mountains near Palmer, the Knik River Lodge is the perfect location to explore the Palmer area. Take advantage of a stay here with a helicopter flight to nearby Knik Glacier. Adding to the experience, the Knik Heli-Hiking Adventure combines the thrill of a helicopter tour with a backcountry trek along ridge lines and alpine meadows, while the popular Knik Helicopter and dog sled tour takes guests to the Colony Glacier sled dog camp.

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Alaska's interest in gold is showcased at the Independence Mine State Historical Park in Hatcher Pass. This mine is reached by a scenic drive through alpine meadows full of trails to a preserved mining community with sweeping Matanuska Valley views.

Alaska's animals also play a part in Palmer's story, so stop by the Musk Ox Farm for a tour. These prehistoric creatures are renowned locally for their valuable quiviut wool, which when woven is warmer than even the finest cashmere. Make plans to see the Reindeer Farm as well, where a thriving herd meets and greets visitors eager to learn about these arctic animals.

On a road trip? Consider traveling farther along the Glenn Highway toward Matanuska Glacier, or even Copper Center or Valdez for more opportunities to see Alaska's diverse landscapes.

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Things To Do in Palmer