Palmer is a city of 7,500 people (2019) 42 miles (68 km) northeast of Anchorage on the Glenn Highway in Southcentral Alaska.
Palmer sits in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley (Mat-Su Valley) on the north shore of the Matanuska River, not far above tidewater, in a wide valley between the Talkeetna Mountains to the north and the Chugach Mountains to the south and east.
The Mat-Su Valley, and Palmer in particular, are known as the farming center of Alaska. Vegetables adapted to cool temperatures thrive, the glacial soils provide organic matter to keep nutrients in the root zone, many insect pests, diseases, and weeds that are common in the lower 48 are not common in Alaska, and there is plenty of sunlight in the summer to help plants grow. In June, Palmer gets 19 hours of daylight every day, so crops can keep growing until midnight. The sunlight also makes crops sweeter. Species in the Brassica family grow very well in Palmer; this includes plants like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, collards, various mustards, radishes, rutabagas, and turnips. Potatoes, beets, carrots, spinach, and lettuce also grow very well here.
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- Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is the airport an hour away in Anchorage. It has flights to and from various places in the continental US, Hawaii, East Asia and Japan, and several small villages in Alaska.
- Palmer Municipal Airport is a small, private-use airport.
- Route 1 runs through Palmer. To the south an hour away is Anchorage, the largest city in the state. Further south, many hours away, is Canada, and eventually the US. From Palmer to Seattle is a 43 hour drive.
Palmer is served by valley mover and Matsu Transit bus service, though in general you need a car to get around.
- 1 Musk ox Farm, 12850 E Archie Rd, ☏ +1 907 745-4151. Mid May-mid Sep: 10AM-6PM daily; rest of year by appointment. A large farm with musk oxes. Surprisingly fascinating. $11 adults, $9 seniors 65+, $5 children 5-17, children under 5 free with paying adult. Starting from Nov 2022: $14 adults, $12 seniors 65+, $8 children 5-17.
- 2 Independence Mine, ☏ +1 907 745-2827. An abandoned gold mine near Hatcher Pass dating back to 1906 that has been converted into a state historical park. The mine contains several buildings from the mining town and historical information on gold mining in Alaska. Heavy fog in the upper portions of the area can occasionally obscure the view; on the other hand, walking through the ghost town in fog can be an interesting experience. Reaching the town from the parking lot requires about a half-mile walk up a gentle slope. Parking $5.
- 3 Alaska State Fair, 2075 Glenn Hwy, ☏ +1 907 745-4827. The Alaska State Fair holds contests for largest vegetable in several categories, and many national and even world records have been recorded at the fair, with the cabbage, radish, spinach and lettuce categories usually dominating local interest.
- 4 Palmer Museum of History and Art and Visitor Information Center, 723 S Valley Way, ☏ +1 907 746-7668. This log cabin in the heart of downtown employs a full-time gardener to maintain the 2 acres (8,100 m²) of public gardens that showcase more than 600 locally grown plant varieties. The Palmer Museum of History and Art offers visitors a chance to view artifacts from Palmer's history, provides maps to historical places to see and stocks guidebooks for more information on local attractions.
- 5 The Church of a Thousand Trees (Palmer Log Church). A couple of blocks away from the Visitor Information Center is the United Protestant Church (aka the Church of a Thousand Trees), a Presbyterian church. It was built in 1936-37 and is one of the 17 structures that contribute to the National Register's Matanuska Colony Historic District.
Palmer's proximity to the Mat-Su mountains allows for various outdoor activities within the mountains, such as hiking and snowshoeing.
- The Butte, Bodenburg Butte Loop. A short hike with a private and public use side. Fairly easy climb, roughly an hour length for even slower hikers. Private side (south) is steeper and dustier, but a more direct climb. The public side (north) has a cleaner and better groomed trail but is primarily in the woods and longer in length. parking fees apply.
- 1 Hatcher Pass. Twelve miles north of Palmer is Hatcher Pass, a scenic mountainous pass that's been established as a state park and is home of the Independence Mine. It serves as a local back-country area for skiers, snowboarders, snowmachiners, and hikers as well as a tourist attraction in the summer months.
- 2 The Kepler-Bradley Lakes State Recreation Area, 4376 S Glenn Hwy. Access to numerous small lakes, the Finger Lake State Recreation Area, and a number of city parks.
- 1 Turkey Red, 550 S Alaska St, ☏ +1 907 746-5544. A cafe and bakery with international cuisine, wine and beer. They serve local produce.
- 2 Vagabond Blues Inc, 642 S Alaska St, ☏ +1 907 745-2233. Comfortable atmosphere, local art and great coffee. To eat, they have soups, salads and great bread.
- 1 Del Rois Bar, 5350 Old Glenn Hwy, ☏ +1 907 745-3914.
- 1 Eagle Hotel, 918 S Colony Way, ☏ +1 907 745-6160, email@example.com. Check-out: 11AM. Has restaurant on site. $99-132.
- 2 Peak Inn, 775 W Evergreen Ave, ☏ +1 907 746-5757.
- 3 Alaska's Harvest Bed and Breakfast, 2252 N. Love Drive, ☏ +1 907-232-8783, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 10AM. Rooms, suite and cabin. Rooms $150-199, suite $209, cabin $399.
|Routes through Palmer|
|Anchorage ← Eagle River ←||W E||→ Glennallen → Tok|
|Fairbanks ← Wasilla ←||N S||→ END|