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Knik Glacier Trail

Butte, Alaska (Matanuska-Susitna County)

Last Updated: 01/18/2020
5 / 5 ( 5 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 21 miles
Highest Elevation: 245 feet
Duration: About 5 hours
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: Southcentral Regional Office
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Knik Glacier Trail
The Knik trails offer picturesque Alaskan scenery! You have sand dunes, a beautiful glacial river, the chance to touch the Knik glacier, and this is all at the base of a beautiful set of mountain ranges on these 4x4 trails! 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 darker months, and salmon fishing are all highly recommended activities of the area.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Knik Glacier Trail

Route Information

Technical Rating:
(MODERATE )

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Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0.00 mi)
Start of trail begins from first parking lot. If you need to air down do not block the trail, can get very congested on busy days.

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

Land Use Issues

No permit required at this time, but land use may change soon as native corporations might be getting some more of this land we love.

Trail Reviews (8)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Due to the cold weather the trip was an easy drive the whole way and an amazing experience for the whole family. My new to me Land Cruiser did great.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Conditions were deteriorating quickly under the mid-afternoon sun. A side by side had broken thru the ice and some of the trucks in our group got stuck a few times. Pretty slushy by even midday when we left for home.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The start of the trail is at Jim Creek Recreation Area, best to know the actual name of the place when paying at the iron ranger to park in the lot. conditions were good, lots of mud puddles. Camped out and kept having Jettas and Kias going back and fourth passed our camp till about 3 am, guess we didn't get far enough out as that is commonplace at Knik.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Drove out from the parking lot to the Dunes today. Beautiful warm and sunny day. The trail to the dunes from the parking area is in decent shape, mostly hard pack snow and ice with a few 12" deep ruts full of water. The trail to the Matanuska Glacier is rapidly deteriorating but is mostly drivable for at least the first mile or more. Mostly ATV's out today but a couple of lifted trucks and a track vehicle were spotted coming back from the glacier.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
It rained on top of the snow pack which turned into an ice pack rather quickly. There was an oncoming group to maneuver around with that and the down hill parts left us half turned and sliding sideways into trees. Large groups are not recommended, there are places with plenty of passing room but the few places there isn't can be rather tricky and time consuming to get passed each other.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Had a nice trip to knik glacier took some first timers out there and went with some old guys too. Small rivers were all frozen and there was a couple weak spots in a few areas, had one guy break through. Temp was awesome had a good BBQ.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Went to the dunes and crossed Jim Creek where it was only 1 foot deep or so. Two vehicles were stuck quite badly in the muck and despite me trying to winch the Ford F150 out my winch just drug me across the mud even when anchored to a Jeep Grand Chereokee!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
While staying at the Knik Glacier Lodge on our honeymoon we wanted to see the glacier. We packed up our things in my IFS Tacoma on 33s and went for a spin. Although we had to turn back about halfway out to the glacier due to unforeseen circumstances it was still a great trip.

Questions & Answers (3)

Q: Would you recommend this trail for someone with a stock Rubicon? No lift, winch, or large tires. Stock sized blizzaks.
–Gary Brar (09/19/2018)
–Kyle Todd (09/20/2018)
Q: How does this trail usually look mid-August? I have a stock JL Rubicon. Thanks!
–Sha (06/28/2018)
–Kyle Todd (06/28/2018)
Q: How is this trail mid September?
–Daniel Odell (09/08/2017)
–Kyle Todd (09/09/2017)

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.