Knik Glacier Off-road Adventure
With temperatures in the single digits and the sun shining it was a perfect day to get out to the local glacier. The Knik Glacier is located right outside Palmer Alaska and conveniently just down the street from my place. Accessing it with a normal 4x4 vehicle is possible during the winter months when all the muddy marshy land has frozen over along with the large lake at the tongue of the glacier.
-Looking east at the glacier from the frozen body of water called The Gorge.
About a 15 minute drive from Palmer the trail starts at the Jim Creek campground/staging area. It snakes though the trees for a few minutes and comes out on the shores of the Knik River. You are greeted with amazing views of Pioneer Peak to the south and a distant view of the mountains behind the glacier. You'll pass the Knik Sand dunes but more than likely they'll be covered in snow as you drive by.
-Entering the second wooded section away from the river.
The trail starts to head north east away from the river into more wooded terrain. This section can get a bit tight. There are a few parallel tracks some wider than others. I had a decent amount of pin striping accidentally taking a small side by side route but it's not too bad. Things are constantly changing out here so cautious of overflow and broken ice.
-Looking back north west as we traveled along the trail.
After a largely flat and open rest of the way you eventually make it out to the Gorge (about 2hrs if you don't get into trouble). This frozen lake pictured below completely freezes over and can support the weight of even some of the heaviest of vehicles. That being said vehicles do break though so if you can wait till you've seen someone else already driving around. If it's the weekend you're guaranteed to see other people out there on all sorts of vehicles from fat tire bikes, snow machines, 4x4s, planes and helicopters.
-Driving on the frozen lake looking at the glacier.
-Climbing into the ice
-So many cool frozen icebergs to drive around.
-Interesting ice formation.
-Robinson R44 presumably doing tours.
-Cessna 140 on skis.
-Pictures do not do this amazing sight justice
The drive out to the glacier is certainly worth it! If you need some help finding your way out there here is a Google Earth KML file and also a GPX file. Enjoy!