Hatcher Pass isn’t actually a town, but nonetheless, this alpine paradise features some unique lodging opportunities that show off the stunning views of the Talkeetna Mountains, gold mining artifacts and prime hiking, skiing, showshoeing, berry picking and other recreational activities.
About Hatcher Pass
Hatcher Pass is a favorite recreation area for residents of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, and is easily accessible from either Palmer or Wasilla. Its stunning panoramas are some of the most photographed views in the Mat-Su Valley.
Things to do
The main attraction of Hatcher Pass is 272-acre Independence Mine State Historical Park, a huge, abandoned gold mine sprawled out in an alpine valley. Within the beautiful bowl-shaped valley of the park are the remains of 16 buildings that were built in the 1930s by the Alaska-Pacific Mining Company, one of the leading hard rock gold mines in Alaska in its day. Closed in 1951 and now a state park, the mine and the company town that was built around it make for a fascinating tour. Today you can explore the structures, hike several trails and take in the stunning views at Hatcher Pass.
Summit Lake State Recreation Site is also located in the area not far from Independence Mine. Summit Lake is a small cirque lake, or tarn, reaching a depth of 20 feet. The site does not have camping, but provides the perfect spot for a picnic in a spectacular setting. Hiking, mountain biking, berry picking and picnicking are also popular activities in the summer.
In winter, telemark and cross-country skiers, alpine skiers and snowboarders flock to the area. Snowmobiling is also very popular west of the pass. Visitors are encouraged to check current snow conditions before venturing into the backcountry. The Mat-Su Borough also maintains an excellent sledding hill near Independence Mine State Historical Park that is wildly popular with area families and free to the public.
Hatcher Pass is a popular destination for parasailing. On most calm evenings, you can sit on a ridge and watch the daredevils strap themselves to the colorful sails and glide with the wind.
Once the snow arrives, winter sports enthusiasts flock to designated areas in Hatcher Pass to telemark and cross-country ski. Next to Independence Mine State Historical Park
the Mat-Su Borough maintains and grooms an excellent sledding hill while snowmobiling is allowed in some area of the pass when there is sufficient snow. Before heading out snowmobilers should to check for current regulations for other rules and changes.