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Wasilla, Alaska

Wasilla, Alaska Visitor Guide

Wasilla is a bustling city located in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of Alaska. As the sixth-largest city in the state, Wasilla offers a unique blend of modern amenities, outdoor adventures, and cultural experiences. In this guide, you’ll find information on Wasilla’s latitude and longitude, directions from Anchorage, things to do, history, famous people, RV and camping information, and annual festivals and events.

Latitude and Longitude: Wasilla is located at approximately 61.5814° N latitude and 149.4394° W longitude.

Getting to Wasilla from Anchorage

Wasilla is approximately 43 miles north of Anchorage, and the primary means of reaching the city is by car.

By Car

To reach Wasilla by car from Anchorage, head north on AK-1 N/Glenn Highway. Continue on AK-1 N for about 35 miles until you reach the junction with the Parks Highway (AK-3 N). Turn right onto the Parks Highway and drive for approximately 8 miles to reach Wasilla. The drive typically takes around 45 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic and road conditions.

Things to Do

Wasilla offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy, ranging from outdoor adventures to cultural experiences.

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Headquarters

Visit the official headquarters of the world-famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, where you can learn about the history of the race, view displays of past champions, and even meet sled dogs during the summer months.

Alaska Museum of Transportation and Industry

Explore Alaska’s transportation and industrial history at this museum, which features exhibits on aviation, railroads, and other modes of transport that helped shape the state’s development.

Hiking and Outdoor Recreation

Wasilla’s location in the Mat-Su Valley offers ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Visit nearby Hatcher Pass, the Palmer Hay Flats, or explore the many trails and lakes in the area.

Detailed History

Wasilla was established in 1917 as a stop along the Alaska Railroad, which was under construction at the time. The town’s strategic location in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley made it an important transportation and supply hub for the region, and it grew steadily over the years.

Expanded History

In the 1930s, Wasilla became the site of a large-scale agricultural colony established by the U.S. government, which brought hundreds of settlers from the Midwest to the area. The colony played a significant role in developing the Mat-Su Valley’s agricultural industry, which remains an important part of the local economy today. Over time, Wasilla has continued to grow and expand, becoming a thriving city that serves as a gateway to the surrounding wilderness and recreational opportunities.

Famous People from Wasilla

– Sarah Palin, the former Governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican Vice Presidential nominee, was the mayor of Wasilla from 1996 to 2002.

RV and Camping Information

There are several RV and camping options in and around Wasilla:

– Big Bear RV Park & Campground: Located just south of Wasilla, this RV park offers full hook-up sites, restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, and Wi-Fi.

– Finger Lake State Recreation Area: Situated about 10 miles southwest of Wasilla, this state recreation area provides rustic camping facilities, a picnic area, and boat access to Finger Lake.

– Matanuska River Park: Located in nearby Palmer, this park features tent and RV sites, restrooms, picnic areas, and access to the Matanuska River.

Annual Festivals and Events

Wasilla hosts several annual festivals and events that celebrate its history, culture, and natural resources:

– Wasilla Founder’s Day: Held in July, this event commemorates the founding of Wasilla with a variety of activities, including a parade, live music, games, and food vendors.

– Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman Bear Paw Festival: Taking place in July, this family-friendly event features carnival rides, games, food vendors, and live entertainment.

– Colony Days: Celebrated in nearby Palmer in June, this event honors the region’s agricultural heritage with activities such as a parade, craft fair, and farmer’s market.

In summary, Wasilla, Alaska, offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. As a gateway to the Mat-Su Valley and its abundant recreational opportunities, this growing city provides a taste of Alaska’s unique history and culture. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a convenient stopover on your Alaskan journey, Wasilla is a destination worth exploring.