Bodenburg Butte Alaska – Palmer’s Short and Sweet Hike

bodenburg butte alaska palmer alaskaThe Bodenburg Butte Alaska, known as “the butte” by locals and “the butt” by my kids (wink) is a short hike with spectacular views in Palmer, Alaska. It is the perfect outing for the Alaska vacationer who has a free afternoon around Palmer or Wasilla. Your will enjoy the beautiful summer sunshine on a cool June day. It is also just a short 45-minute drive from downtown Anchorage. This trail is heavily travelled and not a hit with the adventure hikers who like to be alone on a treacherous rugged mountainside. But, it provides a less physically strenuous option for the untrained hiker who just wants to peer off the edge of  mountain that overlooks the Matanuska Valley.


Trail Type: Loop
Trail Length: 0.9 Miles
Time on Trail: 1-3 hours
Gear Needed: Hiking Boots (find the best here)
Difficulty: Moderate with some steep climbs

Bodenburg Butte Alaska – Short and Sweet

The Butte loop is a short .9 mile moderate hike with a meer 669 feet elevation gain. The trail starts out as a brisk walk bodenburg butte alaska palmer alaskathrough a dense forest up a graveled trail. As you continue along, you will find a sharp set of switchbacks winding up a steep rocky hillside. You will soon arrive at a sitting bench placed for rest for the weary amateur hiker. The remainder of the climbing part of the trail gets much more steep with wooden steps, crate type stairs, and even ropes to hold onto as the elevation rises.

Reaching the Top

As the steep hillside fades into a slow rise, the trees get sparse and the rocks jut up out of the ground. Breathtaking views begin to unfold in front of the casual day hiker. As the end nears, you will begin to see spectacular views of the Matanuska Valley floor, Matanuska Peak at 6,119 feet, Lazy Mountain, the Knik Glacier, Pioneer Peak and Twin Peaks. The view of the farmland of the Matanuska Valley are also worth the climb.

What to Do at the “Summit”

The top of Bodenburg Butte is a great place to enjoy a picnic lunch. Because the trail is short and sweet, a lunch can easily be drug up the mountain. The photos on top of the Butte are quite wonderful. It’s a very accessible location to get some great Alaska vacation photos! There are also plenty of rocks to scramble around on and an afternoon nap may even be in order.


July temperatures usually see a high of 67 and a low of 51, making this a wonderful time to enjoy the Butte. There are usually only 7 days of rain in the Palmer area, so you will most likely have a very pleasant and dry outing. However, in the mounatain of Alaska, you never know what  might change, so it doesn’t hurt to have a rain jacket handy. Be aware that it can be very windy on the Butte! Be prepared for the wind of the valley.


No special gear is necessary to enjoy this half day outing on the Bodenburg Butte. We do highly recommend a good, yet reasonably priced pair of hiking boots. Our best recommendation can be found here. Other than that, just think comfort. Once again, a rain jacket is not a bad idea on your afternoon hike of Bodenburg Butte Alaska.

Well Worth the Effort and Drive

The Bodenburg Butte Alaska is well worth the 45-minute drive from Anchorage to be able to look over one of the most beautiful glacier valleys in the world, the Matanuska Valley. It is a rare combination of a glacier bed, active farmland, surrounding peaks and beautiful wildlife and landscapes. I would highly recommend the Bodenburg Butte if you have a half day to kill in the Matanuska Valley region of Alaska.

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