10 Things to Do in Palmer That You Shouldn't Miss

December 20, 2017 Terina Blouin

Palmer is a city in and the borough seat of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 5,937.
Restaurants in Palmer

1. Independence Mine State Historical Park

23264 Gold Cord Road, Palmer, AK 99645 +1 907-745-2827
Excellent
68%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 353 reviews

Independence Mine State Historical Park

Park dedicated to the history of the gold rush.

Reviewed By Jette W - Cape Fair, Missouri

Fall color at mine was beautiful. Park was closed for winter, so we hiked into the mine. Very interesting buildings at the mine, with good info. Discovered all the blueberries on the way down!! Yummy!

2. Reindeer Farm

5561 S Bodenburg Loop, Palmer, AK 99645-7630 +1 907-745-4000
Excellent
70%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 343 reviews

Reindeer Farm

Reviewed By N B - Anchorage, Alaska

We went here twice to show off the reindeer to family and had a great visit each time. The reindeer are very friendly and easy to feed and enjoy. The farm is in a beautiful setting in the Matanuska Valley. You will be able to feed the reindeer as well as learn the history of them coming to Alaska.

3. Bodenburg Butte

Bodenburg Loop, Palmer, AK
Excellent
70%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 116 reviews

Bodenburg Butte

Reviewed By Jake G - Palmer, Alaska

The Bodenburg Butte ("bYOOT") isn't very tall, but it involves around 500 steps up a steep wooden stairway if you up the "easy way" on the east and a series of steep paths/switchbacks if you go up the "hard way" on the south. I've always gone up the "easy way." There are a few sections where the wooden steps end and you will need to climb some rocks that are similar to stairs, but there are handrails/barricades (skimpy ropes in some areas) to stabilize yourself as you ascend/descend. If you're in bad shape, you will find the hike GRUELING (it can take 90 minutes to climb)...but it's an excellent and "easy" hike to build up your stamina. I'm serious, hike it 3 times in a week (Monday-Wednesday-Friday) and you will notice a 1000% decrease in difficulty from the Monday vs Friday. Those of you in good shape will find it an easy, boring hike that you can knock out in 20 minutes. Persevere and get to the top and you will be rewarded with an unforgettable view! On a clear, sunny day you can see for miles, looking up the Knik River Valley towards the Knik Glacier, to the Knik Arm towards Anchorage, and all the way up the Susitna Valley plus some of the Matanuska Valley. Right there in your face is the GORGEOUS Pioneer Peak. You can't miss it, nor can you take your eyes from it! There are no bathroom facilities at the top, but there is a small park bench to sit on to catch your breath, bask in the sun, or take in the sights. It can get chilly up there (even in the summer), so a windbreaker or a sweater would be wise. You can make the hike in the winter, but bring your cleats, as it gets treacherously icy! Also watch out for wildlife: moose are regularly seen in the area and they are NOT an animal to mess around with if you've never encountered one or know nothing about them. The parking lot on the north side isn't free; there is a nominal fee to park your vehicle ($5 or so). If memory serves me correctly, there is also a porta-potty in the parking lot as well.

Great hike, but not for little kids! Give it a whirl!

4. Bearpaw River Brewing Company

4605 E Palmer Wasilla Hwy, Wasilla, AK 99654-7679 +1 907-373-2537
Excellent
87%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 23 reviews

Bearpaw River Brewing Company

We are a microbrewery based in Wasilla, making fresh hand-crafted beers for hard-working Alaskans.

Reviewed By Matthew M - Sanford, Maine

Stopped in here after hiking around Hatcher's Pass. Since breweries are proliferating everywhere, it's nice to see Wasilla get one. The place looks like a normal warehouse from the outside but has a nice rustic tasting room inside with bar seating overlooking the brewing room. The offer several kinds of beer for all tastes, as well as a komboucha. A tasting flight is $7.50. Not sure if he works there but the friendly dog was nice too. Worth stopping in while in the area!

5. Musk Ox Farm

12850 E Archie Rd, Palmer, AK 99645 +1 907-745-4151
Excellent
52%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 343 reviews

Musk Ox Farm

Join us for a scenic walk around our property in Palmer while our staff shares with you our project history, the natural history of the musk oxen and the incredible potential these arctic ungulates have to offer communities in the far north. You will see frisky calves, seasoned old bulls and the largest captive herd of musk oxen in the world, don't forget your camera!

Reviewed By MT1 - Aurora, Colorado

After reading some reviews my wife and I stopped by here on our way back to Anchorage from Valdez. It is just off the main road with a gravel parking lot outside the gift shop/visitor center. With the old people discount the tour was $9 each. I believe the tour had actually started by the time we arrived and we missed a history part that took place at the visitor center since the group was just leaving to head out to the pasture as we joined up.

In the "field" portion of the tour, which lasted about 30 minutes, a young man walked us around to various pastures where they keep different groups of musk ox separated - calves, adult females, younger musk ox, adult males, etc. We weren't taken by pens where the adult males are kept. The young man provided interesting information on the history of the farm and the animals, care and feeding of the animals, the farm's breeding program, how they harvest the qiviut, etc and was happy to answer all questions.

After the tour we spent some time looking at the displays and educations exhibits in the visitor center/gift shop area. They have numerous items related to musk ox available for sale - the qiviut items are fairly expensive but very nice.

We found the tour very interesting and the price very reasonable so would recommend a stop to see this farm.

6. Palmer Visitor Information Center

723 S Valley Way, Palmer, AK 99645-6601 +1 907-746-7668
Excellent
61%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 104 reviews

Palmer Visitor Information Center

Reviewed By Jennifer R - Lexington, North Carolina

We enjoyed our hour at the Visitor Center Information Center and Museum. It is full of information, pictures and the video was excellent !!! It is a true gem of Palmer!

7. Lazy Mountain

Huntley Road, Palmer, AK
Excellent
72%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 21 reviews

Lazy Mountain

Reviewed By otownvagabond - Orlando

In all fairness this is a beautiful hike but I didn't rank it highly because the trail is very difficult if it is the slightest bit slick from rain. I would attempt lazy moose first then try lazy mountain if you want a challenge. I slipped over and over on the trail and didn't want to end up alone with a sprain or worse. Never made it to the summit out of caution.

8. Pioneer Falls

Knik River Road, Palmer, AK
Excellent
65%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 14 reviews

Pioneer Falls

Reviewed By Cynthia W - Freeland, Michigan

A very beautiful waterfall just about 1 mile from Old Glen Hwy on East Knik River Road. There is a small wood sign that arrows you to turn stating Pioneer Falls, but there is a mailbox by the dirt road and you think it is a driveway. . So turn around and up the dirt road 50 yards to a small parking area. This is not appropriate for a person hauling a RV. The falls are not far from the parking lot but are best viewed from the parking lot. The falls are high and then proceed down the hill and takes a 45 degree turn. A wide angle lens works well here. This is not a well maintained falls and some bushes need trimming to allow for a better view of the falls. If you don't like your picture, just remember the visit. I don't think trying to climb the falls is a better vantage point either. Someone should give the area some TLC, it is a beautiful falls. If you made it to this fall, just go S on Glen Highway another 5 miles to Thunderbird Falls. It is a better maintained trail.

9. Government Peak Recreation Area

North Mountain Trails Drive, Palmer, AK 99645 +1 907-745-9577
Excellent
84%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 12 reviews

Government Peak Recreation Area

Reviewed By Alaska_Explorer - Alaska

Newly established recreation area in the backyard of my residence for more than 30 years. Good hiking and now equestrian and single-track trails are open. The cross-country skiing is excellent with double-wide groomed trails for skating or classical. The snow is usually much better here than other areas of the Matanuska Valley due to the elevation. Large warm-up facility that can be rented for large group activities. I love having this in my backyard!

10. Colony House Museum

316 E Elmwood Ave, Palmer, AK 99645-6621 +1 907-745-1935
Excellent
67%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 12 reviews

Colony House Museum

Reviewed By fiddlestogo - sparks nv

I have been fascinated by the farmers who came here during the derpression, part of the New Deal, since I first heard about them. This house is downtown Palmer, near the railroad station. The gal doing the tour was the granddaughter of one of the colonists. She had spent summers in a house like this and had so, so much information about the colonists lives. Everything inside was from the era, but the best part of the visit was her stories. After leaving I met two elderly ladies who also "man the house" on occasion. Small children might be bored, but we were totally engrosses. The structure across the street which is now a small hotel and cafe was built for the schoolteachers. A must see.

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