Named for Captain Edwin Glenn, an early Army explorer of the area, the Glenn Highway (Route 1) stretches 328 miles from downtown Anchorage  to Tok, where it joins the Alaska Highway. Most of the Glenn was built during the corridor-construction craze of 1942, first from Tok to Gulkana, where it joins the Richardson Highway, then from Glennallen , where it leaves the Richardson, and finally to Palmer . Palmer was already connected to Anchorage by rail; the final 42 miles of road were completed a few years later.
Twenty miles east of Palmer is the tiny settlement of Sutton (pop. 470). Of interest here is the nonprofit Alpine Historical Park (907/745-7000, www.alpinehistoricalpark.org , daily 9 a.m.–7 p.m. late May–early Sept.), with its collection of historical buildings, coal-mining relics, and Athabascan Indian artifacts.
At Mile 72 (30 miles from Palmer), Castle Mountain B&B (907/745-7818, www.castlemountainb-b.com , $110–140 d) is a bright modern log home with a large deck facing King Mountain, three guest rooms with shared or private baths, Wi-Fi, and big breakfasts. The owners are friendly too.
Four miles up the road is King Mountain State Recreation Area (907/746-4644 or 800/952-8624, www.lifetimeadventures.net , $15), a large beautiful campground with water, outhouses, and choice spots right on the Matanuska River (though the interior loop might be less windy). The site faces King Mountain, a perfect triangular peak, across the river.
Based in Chickaloon at Mile 77, Nova Riverrunners (907/745-5753 or 800/746-5753, www.novalaska.com ) guides daily summertime raft trips. Two options are a white-water ride along the Matanuska River past dramatic Lion Head (Class IV) for $110 or an easy float trip along lower reaches of the river for $90. The company also does a variety of multiple-night trips around Alaska.
A few miles up is Long Lake State Recreation Area, at Mile 85, where you can stretch your legs. A handful of free campsites (no water) are available.
At Mile 98, pull out your binoculars and look to the north for scattered bunches of white dots—Dall sheep like to congregate here, apparently for a mineral lick on the hillside.