Things to Do Near Willow, Alaska

The Willow area has long been recognized as Alaska’s premier recreational area. Fishing the fresh water rivers of the area is one of many activities located at our lodge doorstep. If you like kayaking or canoeing you can explore one of the many lakes in the area. We have kayaks and a canoe available for your use. If you are looking for a more thrilling white water experience, there are several white water rafting guide services within a few miles of the lodge.

Matanuska Glacier

The Matanuska Glacier is the largest glacier in Alaska that can be reached by vehicle.  It is approximately 26 miles long and 4 miles wide.  The glacier was chosen by Alaska Magazine as #2 of “49 PLACES TO GO IN THE 49th STATE”. 

The glacier is 100 miles south-east from the lodge.  The Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Area encompasses approximately 229 acres. There is not direct access to the glacier from this recreational area, however; this is a popular location to stop and take advantage of the easy walking trail that parallels the glacier and the Matanuska River. Travelers wanting to experience the ice up-close should visit Matanuska Glacier Park.  This privately owned park is the only public access to the glacier.  You need to book a tour with them ahead of time since their spots fill fast.  For more info on the Glacier visit:

Hatchers Pass

Immerse yourself in the unique history of the Gold Rush days by touring the Independence Mine on Hatcher Pass which is just 12 miles from the lodge.

The state of Alaska maintains the park at the Independence Mine. Hatcher Pass is a sub alpine area with many miles of easy hiking trails, spectacular mountain panoramas and active gold mining. During the summer season, the hillsides are alive with wild flowers of every description.  For more info on Independence Mine visit:


The historic town of Talkeetna is just 30 miles from the lodge. The entire town is listed in the register of historical places. Spend the afternoon wondering through the gift shops, museum and other attractions in this mecca for climbers and outdoor adventurers.

Several dog sled teams make their home near Talkeetna. In the summer, dog sleds are put on wheels so you can experience the thrill of ‘mushing’ behind a team of Huskies. For more info about the town visit:

Dryland Mushing

Experience the thrill of dog mushing on a personal level by joining us on this 5 Star Rated adventure.  Learn about the life of sled dogs and their trainers from Dallas Seavey’s FIVE time Iditarod champion team as they prepare you to drive your own team on their dryland racing rigs.

To find out more call Dacia (907) 947-4210 and tell her Jim & Maria from Deshka Landing Charters & Lodge sent you!

Glacier Sled Dog Tour

Drive your sled-dog team on real snow in the middle of summer surrounded by amazing scenery.  Start this adventure with a spectacular helicopter rise over glaciers and icebergs.  Land on a huge snow field high on a glacier and enjoy a whole hour with Alaskan sled dogs and their mushers that live here all summer long.

To find out more call Dacia (907) 947-4210 and tell her Jim & Maria from Deshka Landing Charters & Lodge sent you!

Denali National Park

You can reach the south border of Denali National Park in one hour of driving from the lodge.  The DNP’s visitor center is a three hour drive from the lodge.  Private cars are only allowed on the first 14 miles of the total 90 mile drive to the heart of the park.  There is a lot of wildlife that can be seen in the park and if you are lucky you will be able to see ALL 20,310′ of Mount Denali.

Often guests will extend their trip home by two or three days in order to visit DNP after fishing the Deshka. If you choose to do this, we can keep your fish frozen at the lodge and you can pick it up on your way down from Denali before you head to the airport in Anchorage.  For more info on park tours visit:

Halibut Fishing

Get away for a Rockin’ Alaska halibut fishing experience with Crazy Rays Adventures in Whittier, Alaska. Featuring world class saltwater fishing trips in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. They will take you deep into the pristine waters of Prince William Sound known for spectacular beauty and world class Alaska halibut fishing.

To find out more call Brenda, Ray’s awesome wife! (907) 315-5382 and tell her Jim & Maria from Deshka Landing Charters & Lodge sent you.

Flight Seeing

One of the very best ways to experience the vastness and grandeur of Alaska is to take a ‘flightseeing tour’ of Denali Park and the surrounding area.

It is our client’s most popular activity, aside from fishing of course! There are no words to describe the beauty of the Alaskan range and the magnificence of its three major peaks that tower over 18,000 feet above sea level. This is an experience of a lifetime. Let us arrange a tour for you and your family.

Panning for Gold

North of Petersville, an hour’s drive from the lodge, is a Bureau of Land Management public gold panning area. The drive to this area is scenic and rugged and takes you very close to the base of Denali or Mt. McKinley.

You may borrow our gold pans and try your luck at panning for gold. There are numerous hiking trails in this vast scrub covered area and the views of Denali are spectacular. Yes, you will find gold in the creek!