Instagram-Worthy Locations along the Glenn Highway – Discovering Alaska’s Picture-Perfect Gems
Here are the top Instagrammable spots along the Glenn Highway that you must stop and see. Most can fit in a day trip between Anchorage and the Matanuska Glacier!
Our experienced tour guides at the Matanuska Glacier have compiled this list of the top photogenic places between Anchorage and the Matanuska Glacier to help you capture the perfect Instagram photo or film the ultimate reel to share with your friends and family.
Alaska’s Glenn Highway is a breathtaking stretch of road that winds through some of the state’s most stunning landscapes. From towering mountains and serene lakes to picturesque valleys and glaciers, this highway offers many Instagram-worthy locations that will leave your followers in awe.
Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or an avid traveler seeking that perfect shot, here are some must-visit spots along the Glenn Highway that elevate your Instagram game.
|Mile marker on Glenn Hwy
|Matanuska River (and Knik River)
|Lion’s Head View Trail
#1 Thunderbird Falls
Driving North from Anchorage along the Glenn Highway, you will first pass Thunderbird Falls.
Thunderbird Falls is located approximately 25 miles northeast of Anchorage, making it a convenient day trip. Head north on the Glenn Highway (Highway 1) from Anchorage.
Continue on the highway until you reach the Thunderbird Falls exit at Mile 25. Take the exit and follow the signs that lead you to the designated parking area for the falls.
From there, a short and well-maintained trail will guide you through a picturesque forest. As you walk, you’ll hear the soothing sounds of rushing water growing louder. Within a half-mile, you’ll arrive at the stunning Thunderbird Falls, where water cascades down a rugged cliff into a tranquil pool below.
Thunderbird Falls offers a captivating combination of lush greenery, cascading water, and dramatic rock formations. The trail leading to the falls is adorned with moss-covered trees, creating an enchanting atmosphere.
Capture the power and grace of the waterfall as it tumbles down the rugged cliff face.
#2 Matanuska River
Flowing parallel to the Glenn Highway, the Matanuska River presents a picturesque landscape that changes with the seasons.
Whether it’s capturing the vibrant fall foliage reflecting on its tranquil surface or the frozen ice formations during winter, the river offers endless opportunities to showcase the ever-changing beauty of Alaska.
Pull over at mile 49.9 to take advantage of a scenic overlook of both the Matanuska and Knik Rivers that travelers may enjoy.
The Chugach and Talkeetna Mountains create stunning scenery, and the Matanuska River coils along parallel to the Glenn Highway.
#3 Matanuska Glacier
Situated approximately 100 miles northeast of Anchorage, the Matanuska Glacier is a true marvel of nature. Its ice-blue hues, and striking crevasses create a visual spectacle that is a photographer’s dream.
Capture the immense scale of the glacier as you traverse its icy terrain, and remember to take a selfie against this awe-inspiring backdrop.
As you traverse the Glenn Highway in Alaska, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Matanuska Glacier from several vantage points. One of the best spots to take an Instagram-worth photo of this magnificent glacier is Mile 102 on the highway.
Here, you’ll find a designated viewpoint area with ample parking. Step out of your vehicle and take in the awe-inspiring sight before you. The Matanuska Glacier stretches out majestically, with its icy-blue hues and towering ice formations.
From this viewpoint, you can admire the vastness of the glacier and capture its beauty in photographs, framing it against the backdrop of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
The combination of the Glenn Highway’s scenic drive and the panoramic view of the Matanuska Glacier makes for an unforgettable Instagram-worthy experience that will leave you in awe of Alaska’s natural wonders.
The following Instagram-worthy destinations are located past the Matanuska Glacier but still close enough to include in a day trip.
#4 Lion’s Head View Trail
Lions Head View Trail offers excellent Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. Once you reach the top, you will experience sweeping views of the Matanuska Glacier with the Talkeetna Mountain Range behind you and the Chugach in front.
However, hiking Lion Head is challenging, quite steep, and not for the faint of heart. The hike can take, on average, 1 – 1.5 hours to complete. The best times to visit this trail are May through September.
An ascent of the summit involves hiking 2.3 miles (round-trip) with 1,100 feet of elevation gain.
Most reviews of the trail conditions say it can be difficult to stay on the trail and sometimes very steep and challenging to follow.
Directions to Lion Head Trail
Lion Head is at mile 106 on the Glenn Highway in Glacier View, Alaska. Driving north along the Glenn Highway, you will see an AT&T Tower at Mile 106.
After taking a sharp right into the parking area, you will drive down a gravel road and find a place to park.
If you research this hike beforehand, you will see recommendations to call the phone # on the sign before parking. As of 2023, this is no longer necessary. The landowners just asked you not to block the gate with your vehicle.
#5 Sheep Mountain
Known as “Sheep Mountain” due to its resident Dall sheep population, this picturesque mountain range is a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers trying to capture the perfect Instgram-worthy shot of a Dall Sheep in Alaska.
Head east on the Glenn Highway for approximately 60 miles from Palmer. Sheep Mountain will come into view on your left-hand side at mile 113.
As you approach Sheep Mountain, you’ll find a designated viewpoint area where you can pull over, park your vehicle, and fully appreciate the grandeur of the mountain range.
Capture the picturesque landscape with your camera, focusing on the striking presence of the Dall sheep that often roam the rugged terrain.
Take your time to soak in the beauty of Sheep Mountain and its surrounding scenery before continuing your journey along the Glenn Highway, immersing yourself in Alaska’s captivating landscapes.
#6 Gunsight Mountain
Situated in the Chugach Mountains, Gunsight Mountain is a striking peak that dominates the skyline. Its distinctive pyramid shape and rugged features make it a remarkable subject for dramatic Instagram-worth shots.
Whether you capture it at sunrise, bathed in warm hues, or with a backdrop of swirling clouds, Gunsight Mountain will surely add a touch of awe-inspiring beauty to your Instagram feed.
Begin by heading east on the Glenn Highway (Highway 1) from Palmer for approximately 75 miles, stop at Mile 11, home to Knob Lake.
From here you can see the majestic Gunsight Mountain, which will come into view on your right-hand side. Look for pull-off areas or viewpoints where you can park your vehicle safely.
From there, take a moment to absorb the awe-inspiring presence of Gunsight Mountain. Its distinctive pyramid shape and rugged features make it a remarkable sight to behold.
Capture the mountain’s beauty with your camera, capturing its grandeur against the backdrop of the surrounding landscape.
The Glenn Highway is a treasure trove of Instagram-worthy locations showcasing Alaska’s untamed beauty. From glaciers and mountains to lakes and rivers, these stunning spots provide an extraordinary backdrop for capturing the majesty of nature.
So pack your camera, hit the road, and prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey, capturing Alaska’s most awe-inspiring landscapes, one Instagram post at a time.
#7 Eureka Summit
The Eureka Summit is at mile 129.5 along the Glenn Highway.
From this viewpoint, you can sometimes see four mountain ranges: the Chugach Range, the Talkeetna, the Wrangell Mountains, and the Alaska Range.
These ultimate views of the mountain ranges make for the grand finale of the Byway, a fitting end to a fantastic journey.
This vantage point offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges, showcasing the vastness and grandeur of Alaska’s wilderness.
With the endless expanse of untouched landscapes, you’ll be able to capture stunning landscape photos that highlight the raw beauty of this region.