Nordic Skiing in
the Mat-Su Valley
Mat-Su Ski Club
The Mat-Su Ski Club was formed by a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the sport of cross country skiing in the Mat-Su Valley. The host special events, build and groom trails offer educational clinics and ski swaps, and are the overall nordic gurus of the Mat-Su valley.
Here is a map of the trail systems they recommend / help maintain. Click the logo above for club, event, and trail condition info; click on the map for a printable version.
Beach Lake [part of Eagle River Nature Center]
Palmer Hay Flats - Refelections Lake
An easy 1 mile /1.6K loop around Reflections Lake, at the confluence of Knik and Matanuska Rivers. Ski or snowshoe the lakeside path through birch, cottonwood or ice skate on the frozen lake. Park at the maintenance road for a short walk directly to the lake. The circular lakeside trailhead access is between this area and the river. Reflections Lake trail map
Alcantra Sports Complex & Trails & Map
A squashed figure-eight totalling 2.5K; a short loop around the baseball fields and longer southern loop plus two very short spurs trails to Larson Elementary and Teeland Middle Schools, Ski mild hills and in and out of a mixed forest of birch and spruce.
John Shaw Elementary School Trails
Used by the Mat-Su Ski Club Junior Nordic team.
Government Peak Trails
Work on this new trail system is slated to begin the summer of 2011 with hopes of skiing the winter of 2011/2012.
Independence Mine / Hatcher Pass Trails
SKi 20K of groomed cross-country ski trails, some classic, some skating and plans are underway to provide more trails at Hatcher Pass, so check once you get in the neighborhood [sorry, no website, but try the Mat-Su Ski Club's site]. Hatcher Pass is a very popular spot for backcountry skiing, too. Some trails cross Independence Mine Historical State Park, a historic gold mining town. Often lots of snowmachines here.
Looking for spectacular vistas? Ski the 2.5 mile Archangel Road to the Reed Lakes trailhead. From there, you can admire the scenery or take off your skis and stamp a path up the side of hill, which is actually the side of the Talkeetna Mine shaft. Do not trespass where it says 'Keep Out.' Usually groomed for both classic and skate. Popular with snowmachiners.
In the Hatcher Pass area; this well-maintained trail offers panoramic vistas and lovely scenery along the Little Susitna River. The trail is fairly easy with small, short hills. The trail, named for the gold and gold quartz said to be found in the river, is 8-1/2 miles long and a popular summer hike. Skiers tend to stay on the first 3-5 miles.
Moose Range map [2 trailheads]
Matanuska River Park Trails & Map
2.5K of trails forming a loop from parking areas to the river and back. Most of the trail network traverses gentle terrain through an old growth forest. When snow cover is sufficient, the park roads are groomed for skate and track skiing. The restroom in the lower campground loop is open for winter use. The actual trail system is not groomed in winter due to its narrow width and low hanging branches, so the trails provides a perfect place to snowshoe.
Aurora Dog Mushers Trail & Map
Maintained and managed for dog mushing by the Aurora Dog Mushing Club; available for use by the public during ‘non-racing’ days only. Cross-country skiing and skijoring are allowed, but must yield to dog teams.
Crevasse Moraine Trail System & Map
10.8K of classic and skating trails laid over glacial ridges and valleys, making for challenging most difficult trails. The sytem does include easy and more difficult trails and you can ski the Long Lake connector to Kepler-Bradley State Recreation Area trail system. Horse back riding is allowed on the unplowed maintenance road and two sledding hills round out your winter fun.
Crooked Lake & Iron Dog Winter Traila & Map
Multiple use trails used primarily by snowmachiners, dog mushers, skiers, snowshoers, skijorers and winter bikers [nope we haven't tried that yet either!].
Flathorn Lake Trail & Map
Primarily a snow machine trail, but dog mushers, skiers and skijorers also use it.
Lazy Mountain Winter Trail & Map
For an easy ski, follow the upper loops of the trails that meander over the lower slope of Lazy Mountain. Experts will want to ski the lower most difficult loops. And everyone will appreciate the pretty views of the Matanuska and Knik River valleys. Snowshoeing and skijoring are also allowed.
Matanuska Peak Trail map
Primarily for backcountry skiing.
Montana Creek Dog Mushers Trail & Map
Maintained for dog mushing by the Montana Creek Dog Mushing Club. It is available for use by non-members during ‘non-racing’ days only but fees are charged. Daily fee of $5, or seasonal pass for $25. Cross-country skiing and skijoring are allowed, but must yield to dog teams.
Morgan Horse Trail map
The Morgan Horse Trail is a multi-use trail that includes horse back riding, cross- country skiing, dog mushing, and skijoring.
Palmer-Moose Creek RR Trail map
Ski from Palmer to Moose Creek along the old railroad grade that runs alongside the Matanuska River. The non-motorized trail is for cross-country skiing and skijoring.
Plumley-Maud Trail map
Ski the old logging trail through a birch, cottonwood, spruce forest, connecting Maud and Plumley Roads. Forest openings provide views of Matanuska Peak, the Knik River valley and Pioneer Peak.
Nancy Lake State Recreation Area & Map
The Winter Trailhead, mile 2.2 on the Nancy Lake Parkway, has a parking area, maps and posts current conditions of the park. The ski trail begins across the PArkway from the trailhead is three interconnected loops for 9.7 miles of ski-only trails. The park has another 30 miles of multi-use trails.
The recreation area’s gently rolling terrain, forested hills and open swamps make ideal cross-country skiing.
Parkway Loop Trail is a 3 mile / 4.7K trail through hilly, forested terrain; begins and ends at the Winter Trailhead.
Jano Pond Loop is a 3.6 mile / 5.6K trail that leaves the Parkway Loop Trail about 1.8 miles out and has gentle hills and frozen, open swamps.
Rhein Lake Loop is a 3.1 mile /5K loop which starts midway around the Jano Pond Loop. The trail travels across several open swamps and over some steep hills. If all three trails are skied, the total distance is 9.7 miles / 15.6K.