The trail is in the Butte (we went up the Sanvik Family Trail) just around the corner from Palmer so it is not remote. We met 2 other hikers on the trail, but it was November and cold out. At the top of the Butte I measured the temp at 37 degrees and Palmer was at about 10 degrees when we left for the trail. Only about 4 inches of snow on November 5, 2006. See page 129 of the 55 Ways to the Wildness in Southcentral Alaska book for directions for Sanvik's Trailhead near the Reindeer Farm ($3 for parking) and another newer trailhead on Mothershead Road (parking is a short walk to the trailhead). Both trailheads are off Bodenburg Loop Road.
The 360 degree view from the top is the reward for this hike.
Look for the faults and glacial scoured rocks at the top, and deep loess (angular grains of rock flour/dirt left by glaciers).
Added by the Webmaster on March 16, 2007:
It's breakup and I really wanted to get out of town so I drove out to the Butte on a nice sunny day. The views are really nice from the top but it's a quick hike and it took less time to get up to the summit than it took to drive there. Anchorage residents looking for an all day excursion would be advised to drive further to Hatcher Pass. Once at the top, you get a great view of the Mat-Su Valley, Knik Glacier off in the distance, and probably the best view you can get of Pioneer Peak.
Warning: The trail is seriously eroded and I urge you to be careful going up and down. I would not do this hike in the rain as it would be very easy to slip and hurt yourself in muddy conditions.
This trail would be OK for hardy children. Coming down is slow in spots because of the sandy trail and steep parts. This is a good short hike for short winter days. We explored about 2 hours on the Butte but can be done in a lot less time.
While you are there you may want to visit the Reindeer Farm or the Musk Ox Farm; check to see if they are open, especially during winter.
Good places to eat in Palmer are Colony Kitchen (Noisy Goose) and La Fiesta Restaurant.