Hike Bodenburg Butte “The Butte” Near Palmer

Bodenburg Butte, also known locally as “The Butte”, is a short and sweet hike near Palmer that offers some incredible 360-degree-views of the surrounding Mat-Su Valley.

If you’ve ever noticed that tiny hill sitting in the middle of the valley on your way out to the Alaska State Fair, well, that’s The Butte!

This mountain is quite tiny in comparison to the surrounding mountains, but the views from the top are incredible. You can see Pioneer Peak, Twin Peaks, Lazy Mountain, and the Knik Glacier from the top.

The Bodenburg Butte Trail is best used from May to October. It’s actually one of the best Spring hikes near Anchorage because it’s usually one of the first places for the snow to melt.

The trail is open year-round and you’ll just want to make sure to bring some ice cleats with you if you plan on hiking during winter.

In this post, I’m going to share how to hike Bodenburg Butte near Palmer, Alaska.

Hike Bodenburg Butte Trail Near Palmer

Trail Summary

Traditional Land: Dena’ina (Visit Native-Land.ca to identify whose land you live, work, and play on.)
Distance: 2-3 miles roundtrip
Time: 1.5 – 3 hours
Elevation Gain: 743 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Dogs: Yes

Quick Tips

  • Bring money for parking fees
  • Carry water
  • Watch out for moose and bears
  • Keep valuables in your vehicle out of sight
  • Trekking poles may be useful

How to get to The Butte From Anchorage

Bodenburg Butte is located 44 miles north of Anchorage. There are actually two hiking trails that lead to the top of The Butte, the West Butte Trail and the Sandvik Family Trail.

West Butte Trail

  1. From Anchorage, head north on the Glenn Highway
  2. Exit at the Old Glenn Highway
  3. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Palmer and merge onto S Old Glenn Hwy
  4. Continue on S Old Glenn Hwy for 12.2 miles
  5. Turn left onto Bodenburg Loop (make sure it’s the second one with the same street name)
  6. Turn left onto Mothershead Lane
  7. Parking will be on your left

Sandvik Family Trail

  1. From Anchorage, head north on the Glenn Highway
  2. Exit at the Old Glenn Highway
  3. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Palmer and merge onto S Old Glenn Hwy
  4. Continue on S Old Glenn Hwy for 11.2 miles
  5. Turn left onto Bodenburg Loop
  6. Parking will be on your right in 0.6 miles

The Butte Trailheads

You can access The Butte from the West Butte Trail or the Sandvik Family Trail. The West Butte Trail is 1 mile longer roundtrip but it’s not as steep as the Sandvik Family Trail.

Hike The Sandvik Family Trail

The Bodenburg Butte Sandvik Family Trail is the old trail up The Butte. The trail is just under 2 miles roundtrip. I’ve taken this route ever since I hiked this trail for the first time in 2013.

The trailhead starts from a small, dirt parking lot next to the Williams Reindeer Farm. There is a portable outhouse that you can use across the street. It costs $3 USD to park here.

The trail starts from the left side of the parking lot. It climbs a steep, sandy section. It does suck a little on a really windy day and you’ll most likely end up with sand in your shoes after hiking.

After the short climb, you’ll pass a fence and you can either continue straight to an easier path that follows a switchback until it merges with the main trail again or continue climbing up towards the right and basically climb this trail in a backwards S-shape.

Soon you’ll make your way towards a section of steep cliffs. From this point, there are a few different routes you could take to reach the summit.

It can be difficult to choose the best route up and will require a little bit of scrambling, but if you look to the far left there is a small, sandy chute you can follow to reach the top.

It will take you around 45 minutes to reach the summit from this trail.

Andrea Kuuipo sitting on the bench on top of Bodenburg Butte

Hike The West Butte Trail

The West Butte Trail is the newer trail up The Butte. It’s 3 miles roundtrip and follows a series of 505 steps to reach the summit.

The trailhead starts on the opposite side of the Sandvik Family Trail. It costs $5 USD to park here unless you have an Alaska State Parks pass. There are also bathrooms available here.

The trailhead starts a couple hundred yards down the road. You’ll follow a gravel path uphill before reaching the first bench.

The trail continues up a wooden staircase and the trail gets steeper from here. You’ll continue climbing switchbacks and stairs until reaching a meadow and making the last scramble to the top.

It will take you around an hour to reach the summit from this trail.

Stairs on West Butte Trail Palmer Alaska

Views From The Butte Summit – 881 Feet

After climbing nearly 750 feet, you’ll reach the summit of Bodenburg Butte at 881 feet. The views from the top are amazing.

You can see local farmland below, Knik Glacier at a distance, and plenty of other popular mountain hikes like Pioneer Peak, Twin Peaks. Lazy Mountain, and more!

There is a small bench to sit on and enjoy the views. It can get windy at the top.

Pioneer Peak View From Summit The Butte Palmer Alaska

If you want to enjoy a snack after you hike, the Williams Reindeer Farm now has a food truck and espresso stand open. Serving lemonade, soft serve ice cream, milkshakes, espresso and more from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily!

Hike The Butte During Winter

The Butte hiking trail is open year-round. If you are hiking this trail in the winter, you will definitely want to bring some ice cleats and trekking poles. The trail can become very slick and you’ll want to be prepared to avoid any injuries.

Winter Hike The Butte Palmer
Photo Credit: Nora Fleischer

Other Hikes Near Palmer

Palmer has a ton of other awesome hikes. Check out Reflections Lake, Lazy Mountain Trail, Pioneer Peak, Palmer Moose Creek RR Trail, Eska Falls, and Scout Ridge Loop.

Happy hiking!


Answering Your Questions

What is the Bodenburg Butte elevation?

Bodenburg Butte, also known as The Butte, has an elevation of 881 feet.

How long does it take to hike the butte in Alaska?

It takes 1 to 2 hours to hike the butte near Palmer, Alaska.

How long is the Butte hike?

There are two hiking trails to the top of the Butte. The new West Butte Trail is 3 miles roundtrip and the old Sandvik Family Trail is 1.8 miles roundtrip.


Read More

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The Ultimate Alaska Glaciers Road Trip

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Pin For Later

Hike Bodenburg Butte or The Butte near Palmer, Alaska. This trail is located 44 miles north of Anchorage and takes you to the top of a 881 foot mountain with 360 degree views of the surrounding Talkeetna and Chugach Mountains and Knik Glacier.  If you are traveling to Palmer, Alaska, this is a great day hike to add to your Alaska vacation. #alaska #hiking #palmer #travelalaska

Do you have any questions on hiking The Butte near Palmer? Let me know in the comments.

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