Knik Sand Dunes

Butte, Alaska (Matanuska-Susitna County)

Last Updated: 08/29/2020
4.5 / 5 ( 8 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 3 miles
Highest Elevation: 160 feet
Duration: About 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Butte
Nearest Town w/ Services: Palmer
Official Road Name: RST 17
Management Agency: Alaska Department of Natural Resources
District: South-central Regional Office
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Knik Sand Dunes
The Knik trails offer beautiful Alaskan scenery! You have sand dunes, a beautiful river and views of the Knik glacier all at the base of Pioneer Peak. These trails are probably the most popular offroad destinations in south-central Alaska. They are often filmed by out of state crews when they offroad in Alaska; parts of Expedition Overland (Season 1, Episode 5), Dirt Every Day (Episode 57), and Nitto's 2016 JK-Experience all have been filmed along these 4x4 trails. Viewing the Knik Glacier, gazing into a display of the northern lights in the winter months, and salmon fishing are all highly recommended activities of the area. Often small planes fly overhead and occasionally land on gravel bars. Great place for a quick picnic or an overnight stay. Northern lights viewing is best further away from the dunes as the aurora often appears low on the horizon in the darker months.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Knik Sand Dunes

Route Information

Technical Rating:
(EASY )

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Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0 mi)
This is the main entrance into the Knik trails. There are other trails heading into the woods but beware, most are very tight and not recommended for vehicles. These smaller trails are great for ATVs, side-by-sides, and motorcycles.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 61.526324, -149.006194

Starting Point: Anchorage

From Anchorage, take the Old Glenn Highway exit and continue for several miles. After you cross the Knik River, turn right onto E Sullivan Avenue. The parking lot and entrance to the trail is the large dirt staging area to the right after the Alaska Raceway Park and just before S Butte Airman Road. The main trail entrance is in the first dirt lot, the second lot is larger and better for trucks with trailers or RVs. There are other trails heading into the woods but beware, most are very tight and not recommended for vehicles. These smaller trails are great for ATVs, side-by-sides, and motorcycles. Parking is now available at the trailhead for $5 per vehicle or $40 for a year-long pass per vehicle. The payment drop box is located on the far side of the latrines that are open year-round.

Camping

Dispersed

Trail Reviews (10)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Barely any water on the trail out and lots of fishermen on the banks of the Knik River.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
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Had a great first run with the truck, the sand dunes provided a great location for a trial run, and a beautiful day to top it off.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Knik Cleanup hosted by Alaska Extreme Four Wheelers was great!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Easy and fun trip out today with the family in my new to me Land Cruiser. The trail condition was good, the weather was frigid, and the horror frost and lighting were superb.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
A side by side had fallen thru the ice on one of the crossings so we just stayed by the dunes and played around for the day. It was getting pretty slushy by mid-day, causing a lack of throttle or a good line to get people bogged down.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Just a quick drive under the bridge before heading to Jim Creek. Perfect day. Lots of ATVs out and about.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
First time out, stuck to the main trail. Lots of side-by-sides, and ATVs out. Not a crazy amout of snow, still some deep patches on the trails. Can see mud and rocks in certain areas. Highly recommend!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Conditions were very dusty and dry! Several vehicles were stuck, and the Dodge pictured had been abandoned for several hours at least as a fellow offroader in a red Jeep JK mentioned she had passed the truck on her way out and was there when I talked to her on her way back to the trailhead. The Ford F150 pictured was right off of Old Glenn at the bridge over the Knik River. The suction from the muck was crazy where he got stuck! A friend that was with me couldn't move and had to get dug out so he could move his feet as the muck forms a "glue" from the tight suction around your feet. Be extra careful when in this stuff. Despite me trying to winch the F150 out even while anchoring my truck to a Jeep Grand Cherokee my Smittybilt 9500 pound winch just drug us both without moving the Ford. He had to call for a heavy wrecker to winch him out.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Last camping trip of the season. Simple run to the riverbed for somewhere to set up a tent. Wasn't meant to be a spectacular trip but the northern lights came out about 5 am making it one of the best campouts of my life.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This trail actually starts at the north side of the Knik river bridge on the old glen. To the west is a pull out that RVs park at normally and a trail leads under the bridge to the east side which has a water crossing to about a mile or two of river beach and tree line camp sites. There is a trail leading into the woods to Jim Creek from one of the last camp sites yet is frequently blocked by campers for more than an ATV to go through. Trail conditions were excellent yet the mud puddles are deep enough to water lock an engine as I did to mine over where the RVs were so its best to stay out of the water until you know the area and where the deep holes are.

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Kyle Todd

Mapping Crew - Alaska

Kyle has been into off-roading since getting his license at 16 and wheeling the family SUV (possibly without informing his parents of these wheeling trips in their vehicles). He graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with an Electrical Engineering degree. He lives in south-central Alaska and is raising his two young kids. Kyle stays busy year-round by working full-time as an Electrical Engineer who spends his weekends wheeling, hunting, fishing the local lakes, and raising his family. He is eager to share his love of the outdoors with others, especially when it involves a 4WD. His goal is to create an amazing resource for locals and travelers alike to enjoy the endless beauty Alaska has to offer while respecting the trails and keeping them open for years and generations to come.
For individual use only, not to be shared.