Sutton is a small town located on the Glenn Highway between Palmer and Glennallen, and a convenient place to fill up on gas and snacks for visitors headed to attractions like Matanuska Glacier and Sheep Mountain.
Sutton was founded as a station on the Matanuska Branch of the Alaska Railroad in 1918. The branch line was built for the sole purpose of transporting coal from the area. Sutton was also the base camp for construction of the Glenn Highway. But it was coal mining that kept the economy of Sutton humming over the years. Today the railroad is gone and there aren’t any active coal mines, but 1,300 residents remain to enjoy the scenic location and solitude of their rural community.
Things to do
Sutton’s coal history can be explored at Alpine Historical Park, a museum complex on site of the Sutton Coal Washery. Among the buildings preserved there are the Chickaloon bunkhouse and the original Sutton Post Office from 1948. Hikers and bikers can enjoy the Palmer-Moose Creek Railroad Trail, which follows the former railbed between Sutton and Palmer. Access is via Moose Creek State Recreation Wayside. Nearby Seventeen Mile Lake offers fishing opportunities, while locally grown produce is available at a farmers market during the summer.
Alpine Historical Park
Sutton's coal history is well preserved at Alpine Historical Park
, a museum complex on site of the Sutton Coal Washery. Among the buildings that can be viewed is a Chickaloon bunkhouse and the original Sutton Post Office from 1948 now a museum with displays on the coal industry and building the Glenn Highway.
Mountain bikers take to the two-tracks and old mining roads in the area for scenic and sometimes heart-pounding rides. One is King River Trail, a multi-use trail reached from Mile 66.3 of the Glenn Highway, just west of the King River Bridge.
Excellent whitewater rafting lies near Sutton on the Matanuska River. Outfitters lead parties of rafters down the river on a variety of trips including the rivers's famous Lion Head, a stretch of Class III-IV whitewater, as well as milder sections.
Good fishing opportunities abound at Moose Creek, Mile 54.6 of the Glenn Highway for rainbow trout and Dolly Varden during the summer and at Seventeen Mile Lake, accessed from Mile 58 of Glenn Highway, for grayling in early spring.