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Overview

Palmer (pop. 4,000) is 42 miles northeast of Anchorage, and just a few miles from Wasilla. The town originated in the 1930s, when Midwest farmers — displaced by hard times — came north to begin anew. A number of the farms they established still remain in the surrounding Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Valley, producing crops such as carrots, cabbages, broccoli, lettuce, and squash. The Reindeer Farm has daily tours, and the Musk Ox Farm — home to 50 of these hairy Arctic animals — is especially popular in spring when baby calves are with their moms. The latter farm sells qiviuts made from the ultra-soft musk ox fur. In late August and early ...

Palmer (pop. 4,000) is 42 miles northeast of Anchorage, and just a few miles from Wasilla. The town originated in the 1930s, when Midwest farmers — displaced by hard times — came north to begin anew. A number of the farms they established still remain in the surrounding Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Valley, producing crops such as carrots, cabbages, broccoli, lettuce, and squash. The Reindeer Farm has daily tours, and the Musk Ox Farm — home to 50 of these hairy Arctic animals — is especially popular in spring when baby calves are with their moms. The latter farm sells qiviuts made from the ultra-soft musk ox fur. In late August and early September the Alaska State Fair comes to Palmer, providing all the standard rides, fair food, and exhibits, including Alaska's famed giant cabbages. Local companies offer airboat trips up the Knik River to Knik Glacier. One of the most scenic roads heads north 17 miles from Palmer to Hatcher Pass, home to historic mine buildings, along with great summer hiking.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Don Pitcher for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late summer for the Alaska State Fair