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Welcome to Alaska Garden Gate B&B and Cottages


Thank you for choosing Alaska Garden Gate for your stay. We are located between Palmer and Wasilla, making it easy for you to see and do many special things in our area.


Here is information and recommendations to make your stay more enjoyable.

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Now that you’re checked in - WiFi password and Information


How to reach Karen and Staff - If you need anything


Top Recommendations and Map - Activities, Dining & Shopping


Day Trip Itineraries and Map



Staying with Pets


Tips for taking videos and pictures of our mooses


Now Serving: B&B Recipes



Now that you’re checked in - WiFi password and Information

“Welcome! I’d like you to feel at home during your stay. Please abide by the following requests, for all guests’ comfort and safety. I hope you’ll let me know if there’s anything I can do to make your stay more enjoyable.”

- Karen Harris, Alaska Garden Gate B&B


We have free Wireless Internet. The password is gardengatebnb


Parking: Please park and drive only on the gravel, not on the grass.

Smoking is permitted outside only. Dispose of your butts in a garbage container, not on the ground.

Check In is from 4-10 p.m. and Check Out is by 11 a.m.


Emergency: Call 911. We are located at 950 S. Trunk Rd., Palmer, between the Hospital and the College.


Quiet hours are 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Please be courteous and quiet if you’re coming in after 10 p.m. If you are wide awake at 3-6 a.m., which happens frequently with time zone changes, please help other guests get a full night’s sleep by occupying yourself in your cottage, apartment or room so others can continue to sleep.

Outdoors, feel free to explore and enjoy the property.

The smoke detectors on your ceilings are very sensitive not only to “smoke” but also to sudden temperature changes, which they perceive as “danger.” If you’re baking a pizza or cooking on high heat, there’s a good chance that even with the oven vent fan running, it will make the alarms go off—that can be very startling! It helps to have windows and/or the door open during the time that you’re cooking at high temperatures. Do not disable the smoke detectors.


Karen or a cleaning helper are generally available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. for assistance. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you need anything for your guest apartment or cottage! We want to make your stay great! We take out towels and trash daily, but for a longer stay, let us know how often you’d like full cleaning. Between 8 a.m.–10 p.m. you can ring the doorbell at the front door of the B&B, or flag us down as you see us outside. If you can’t locate Karen, call 907-746-2333—it rings to her cell phone, too, which she always has with her. Or text your request to 907-315-8192, anytime. Karen is happy to share local recommendations and travel advice, too.


Breakfast: When you rise and shine, breakfast is included in your stay. In the summer, join us in the Breakfast Hall between 7:30-9:30 a.m. for our full, hot breakfast served buffet-style. In the off-sesaon, we deliver continental breakfast baskets to your frig for your convenience each day.

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How to reach Karen and Staff - If you need anything


Karen or a cleaning helper are generally available from
8 a.m. to 10 p.m. for assistance.


Don’t hesitate to let us know if you need anything for your cottage, apartment or room. We want to make your stay great! We take out towels and trash daily, but for a longer stay, let us know how often you’d like full cleaning. Between 8 a.m.–10 p.m. you can ring the doorbell at the front door of the B&B, or flag us down as you see us outside. If you can’t locate Karen, call 907-746-2333—it rings to her cell phone, too, which she always has with her. Or text your request to 907-315-8192, anytime. Karen is happy to share local recommendations and travel advice, too.


Meet Your B&B Host

Karen started Alaska Garden Gate B&B in 2002 with 5 rooms in her home. Now there are 7 cottages, 6 apartments, and 5 rooms to choose from. She loves hosting guests from all over the world and getting to share Alaska with them. She grew up in Iowa, and before moving to Alaska, she lived and worked in Minneapolis for 10 years as a newspaper and magazine art director.

Karen is active in many local organizations. She is a member of Palmer's Rotary International club and is on the board of the Mat-Su Convention & Visitors Bureau. She is past-president of the Mat-Su B&B Association and is now serving as president of the B&B Association of Alaska.

Guests often ask if she takes for granted or doesn't notice of the sweeping view of the mountains and glacier from the B&B after years of looking at it, and the answer is no, it's new and different each day! "I would have never guessed, growing up in Iowa, that I'd look at a glacier every day!" says Karen.


karen 2011

Alaska Garden Gate B&B host
 Karen Harris welcomes you.


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Top Recommendations and Map - Activities, Dining and Shopping

Activities – These are our prioritized recommendations with “must-see” choices at the top of the list! Do a couple of these if you’re staying a night or two, or fill many days as you work your way down the activities list, while you stay longer with us!


flightsee in alaska Flightsee Denali from Talkeetna
If you can only “splurge” on one special activity, this is it! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and once-in-a-lifetime for most people.
• as scheduled • $165 and up • See WebsiteView Map
matanuska glacier in alaska Matanuska Glacier
Walk on a glacier! Visitors can either trek on their own in tennies, or to go further with more sure footing, hire guides and get crampons, poles and helmets to explore further back on the glacier, finding ice falls, waterfalls, moulins and other unique formations on the glacier.
• 9-9 daily • $20 • See WebsiteView Map
independence mine in alaska Independence Mine State Park/Hatcher Pass
Remote, mountainous gold mine which is open to visitors to hike, read interpretive signs, and imagine life amongst the ghost town buildings. They list "open" days for the gift shop and ranger programs, but you can walk around on a self-tour anytime. Outstanding scenery.
• 11-6 daily • $5 parking fee • See WebsiteView Map
iditarod in alaska Iditarod Headquarters
Take a cart-ride pulled by Redington Iditarod dogs and tour the headquarters building with small museum area, video viewing area, and gift shop
• 8-7 daily • $5 cart ride/museum free • See WebsiteView Map
palmer alaska Downtown Palmer
Stroll Palmer’s main street shops, and stop in at the Palmer Visitor Center log cabin to learn of Palmer’s Depression-era beginnings. Also tour their heritage gardens. To learn more about Palmer’s history, visit the Colony House. If you’re visiting on a Friday, take part in Friday Fling for lunch, live music, and arts/crafts booths.
• 9-6 daily • free • See WebsiteView Map
alaska musk ox farm Musk Ox Farm
Learn about domesticating musk oxen, why the quiviut wool is so prized from these stone age animals, and how Alaska Natives knit with it for economic development in their villages
• 10-6 daily • $11 • See WebsiteView Map
alaska reindeer farm Reindeer Farm
Go inside the corral to meet the farm’s reindeer, elk, horses, bison and moose. Great for kids!
• 10-6 daily • $8 • See WebsiteView Map
Tsunami Warning Center
Though they only welcome visitors on Fridays, it’s a fascinating tour of how NOAA scientists in sleepy little Palmer, Alaska, keep watch on the entire Pacific Ocean from Russia to Japan to Hawaii, and then up the entire west coast of North America. There are stipulations to follow if you’d like a tour: Each Friday, the NTWC offers three tours at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm. Please contact NTWC at 1-907-745-4212 if visitor groups will exceed 6 people. NOTE: Government issued photo ID will be required to enter the facility
• as scheduled • free • See WebsiteView Map
alaska dog farm Dream a Dream Dog Farm
Meet an Iditarod musher and his canine team at their home/training facility. Presentations at set times, followed by trail walks with the puppies and the option of a ride pulled by dogs
• 9:30 or 1:30 (2 ½ hour tour) • $89 • See WebsiteView Map
alaska atv tours ATV tour to Knik Glacier
Drive your own ATV on a guided tour to Knik Glacier and the wilds of the Chugach mountains. Great for those 8-80 years of age, for getting into the rugged outback, seeing wildlife and experiencing life in the wilderness.
• as scheduled • $255-395 • See WebsiteView Map
knik glacier tour in alaska Jet boat tour of Knik Glacier
Tom describes his tour as an adventure, and it always is! Whiz up the Knik River to the face of the glacier. Have a hot chocolate and snack at the enormous table rock overlooking the glacier. Great wildlife viewing, geology and wildflowers
• 10 or 2 (4 hour tour) • $100 • See WebsiteView Map
alaska jet boat tours Jet boat tour from Talkeetna
Mahays’ Jet Boat Tours offer a grand experience north of Talkeetna, with stops at a trapper’s cabin, native settlement, and whitewater in Devil’s Canyon.
• 9:30 (5 hour tour) • $165 • See WebsiteView Map
salmon fishing in alaska Guided salmon fishing
Go with the best along the Susitna drainage rivers. Andy and his team share their experience and local expertise, providing an enjoyable day on the river.
• as scheduled (6 hour tour) • $140 • See WebsiteView Map
It makes sense for a lot of our visitors to stay with us and take a day trip or two into Anchorage for the museums and shopping, since Anchorage accommodations can be a lot more expensive. We recommend the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center. You can visit just one, or get a combo ticket for both for $29.95
Anchorage Museum • 9-6 • $15 • See WebsiteView Map
Alaska Native Heritage Center • 9-5 • $24.95 • See WebsiteView Map
talkeetna alaska Talkeetna
Talkeetna makes a great day-trip from Alaska Garden Gate B&B, with an easy 1 ¼ hour drive to get there. This fun, walkable town has oodles of Alaska charm and eccentric characters. Many good restaurants for lunch or dinner. Check out the National Parks headquarters where climbers get their permits, the Fairview Inn bar, The Roadhouse for awesome cinnamon rolls and meals, and shops featuring art and artisans that celebrate The Great One (Denali).
• See WebsiteView Map
Denali National Park
It’s a 3 ½ hour drive from our B&B to the mouth of the national park, but for many visitors staying with us, it’s easier to make it a long day, getting up early and returning late, rather than packing up to move to new lodging and paying higher Denali lodging rates. Most visitors choose a Tour bus or Shuttle bus into the park to see the wildlife.
• as scheduled • $ varies • See WebsiteView Map


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Dining – These are our prioritized recommendations with “must-taste” choices at the top of the list!

Turkey Red
Creating hearty, wholesome foods from scratch, their fresh fish and slow-roasted meats are deliciously served with local farms’ vegetables. They also bake their own breads and offer a fine selection of wines and local beers. Live music on weekends and a bubbly atmosphere.
7 am – 9 pm Monday-Saturday • See WebsiteView Map

The Grape Tap
For those with discerning tastes, in an intimate, romantic bistro setting. They focus on pairings between wines and their dishes, offering both full plates and also tapas style bites.
5 – 9 daily • See WebsiteView Map

Settler’s Bay
About a 20 minute drive from the B&B but worth it for the sweeping scenery and relaxing atmosphere. Very good service and high-quality standards like steaks, prime rib, and seafood.
4-9 daily • See WebsiteView Map

Everything about this Italian restaurant is easy to love: it’s the closest restaurant to the B&B, everything they make is incredible, and they will take very good care of you. Their menu features Northern Italian with lots of creamy, cheesy choices; also, their seafood and prime rib are amazing.
11-9 daily • View WebsiteView Map

Palmer City Ale House
The newest choice in our area, and a fun sports bar atmosphere. The pizzas are tasty and the local beers are numerous. If you like fruity, try the one with local blueberries brewed into it. Nice outdoor patio with frequent live music and walkable in downtown Palmer.
11-10 daily • View WebsiteView Map

Vagabond Blues
The venerable, long-time hangout in the center of Palmer. Great lunch spot for sandwiches, soups and variety of gluten/dairy-free or vegan salads.
10-8 daily • View WebsiteView Map

Krazy Moose Subs
Yummy subs on crunchy bread in Wasilla’s historic Teeland General Store. Killer cookies. Packed at lunch.
10:30-6 daily • View WebsiteView Map

Valley Hotel and Noisy Goose Cafe
Either of these two oldies but goodies are great if you just want a basic meal with lots of menu choices in lively atmospheres.
Valley Hotel: open 24/7 • View Map
Noisy Goose Café: 6 am- 9 pm • View WebsiteView Map

Hacienda – Tokyo – Red Robin
Hungry for Mexican, Japanese or gourmet burgers? These three are regular go-to’s for us, and we think you’ll enjoy them, too.
Hacienda: 11-9 daily • View WebsiteView Map
Tokyo: 11-10 daily • View Website: • View Map
Red Robin: 11-10 daily • View WebsiteView Map

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Hiking – These are our prioritized recommendations with “must-do” choices at the top of the list! They go from easy walks toward progressively more challenging hikes

Gold Mint Trail (Hatcher Pass)
Breathtaking scenery at every turn, with a rushing river at the side of the trail. Popular with area residents. Take bear spray (borrow ours). Very slight grade and easy walking for most of the way. Seven miles back to the Gold Mint Glacier, but we usually go for a quick mile or two just to get out and soak up some of the beauty!
10-8 daily • $5 parking fee • View WebsiteView Map

Eklutna Lake
Another unbelievably beautiful location as you walk up to 26 miles around this glacial lake, high up in the Chugach mountains. Also great for a quick hike. Take bear spray (borrow ours). Hike, bike, kayak or canoe; you can rent equipment onsite with Lifetime Adventures.
• 10-8 daily • $5 parking fee • View WebsiteView Map

The Butte
Steep and a little rugged, but much-used by local residents, this 1.5 mile trail is well worth the effort for the views from the top.
• 10-8 daily • free • View WebsiteView Map

Matanuska Glacier
Hike on centuries-old ice! Go on your own or hire a Mica Guides (Dave: www.micaguides.com).
• 9-9 daily • $20 parking • View Website • View Map

Archangel/Reed Lakes Trail (Hatcher Pass)
You should be an experienced hiker in good condition to tackle this one. Four miles one way to the end, it is considered a full-day hike for most. Do not be caught there at nightfall or in rain as hypothermia is common. Watch your footings, since it can be expensive to airlift out injured hikers. Some scrambling will be required if you want to cross the boulder field at three miles in. Wilderness beauty at its best! Take bear spray (borrow ours).
• 9-9 daily • $5 parking fee • View Website • View Map

Lazy Mountain
Nothing lazy about this trail! It can be steep and you have to work for the views you’ll have higher above the willow and brush. Take bear spray (borrow ours).
• 9-9 daily • free • View Website • View Map

Pioneer Peak
In the first 4.5 miles you’ll gain 5300 feet. It’s strenuous and definitely an all day hike (start early) to summit at 6600 feet and make it back down safely by end of daylight, even in summer’s long days. You can take a break at several picnic tables the high school JROTC teens carried up to several level spots.
• free • View WebsiteView Map

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They actually have the most extensive selection of Alaska and Mat-Su souvenirs, as well as anything else you could need.
• Open 24 hours • View Website • View Map

Wasilla got a Target a couple years ago, so you can get your Target fix if you’d like!
• Open 24 hours • View Website • View Map

Fred Meyer
Grocery store that also has clothing, housewares and sporting goods (a Kroeger company in case you get points or have a Rewards card)
Wasilla • Open 24 hours • View WebsiteView Map
Palmer • Open 24 hours • View WebsiteView Map

Carr’s Safeway grocery store
Wasilla • Open 24 hours • View Website • View Map
Palmer • Open 24 hours • View Website • View Map

Downtown Palmer
Stroll Palmer’s main street (called South Alaska Street) for boutique stores offering souvenirs that nicer than the made-in-China variety. Shane Lamb Gallery, Non-Essentials, Sidekicks, Silvertip Designs, and other fine local merchants showcase local art, woven or sewn items, food items, carved antler/bone/ivory or furs for gifts or mementos of your time in Palmer.
• 10-6 daily • View Map

Downtown Talkeetna
Artsy types flock to live in Talkeetna for its bohemian and quiet lifestyle, so you’ll find galleries and shops all up and down the main street featuring locally produced art and souvenirs. This is a great ladies’ shopping day destination.
• 10-6 daily • View Map

Anchorage Fur Factory
Hands-down, a must-see. You’ll touch and see incredibly beautiful furs and native-made crafts that you’ve never seen before. A quirky little store, full to the ceiling with items made from Alaska animals including exquisite ivory carvings. We can’t live without their beautiful seal and beaver slippers for cold winter nights.
• 10-6 daily • View Website • View Map

Alaska Native Medical Center
A little off the beaten path, but check out this hospital gift shop (and the art on the hospital walls) for a glimpse into the art and lives of Alaska’s natives. When native people come to Anchorage for treatments, they often bring craftwork they’ve created in their villages, for sale.
• 10-6 daily • View WebsiteView Map


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Day Trip Itineraries and Maps


Most Popular: 3-Day Itinerary
Choose a 2 to 4 night stay in our area during your Alaska vacation to get a taste of the wildlife, the natural beauty, people and features of the Mat-Su Valley. This amount of time allows a good mix of driving and seeing it all with local experts, guides, and activities.
More >>>


Day-Trippin': 5-Day Itinerary
If you have a little more time, stay 5+ nights and experience exciting adventures. Get to know "the real Alaska," from wildlife to glaciers to Denali, with activity ideas from cultural museums to exhilerating flights or rafting or ATV'ing. Great for those who want to relax at a slower pace, or as a "base camp" for day-trippers.
More >>>


One night, 2-Day Itinerary
If you can only spend one night in our area on your way through from Denali/Fairbanks to Anchorage or Valdez, here are the highlights as you pass through on your travels.
More >>>


See Itinerary Ideas for Your Interests
Here are activities and attractions for outdoor adventurers, active seniors, families traveling with children, visitors with pets, gardners, birders, and antiquers, as well as stuff guys like, and rainy day ideas.
More >>>


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Breakfast is included in the price of your stay if you are a nightly guest (sorry, not for monthly stays). In the summer, a full, hot buffet style breakfast is served in our Breakfast Hall each morning between 7:30-9:30 a.m. Just walk over from your cottage or apartment to join us! It's a great place to wake up with beautiful views and the chance to meet other guests from around the world. Each day, we offer an egg entree, potatoes or biscuits and gravy, breakfast meats such as reindeer sausage, or sausage links or bacon, and oatmeal with fixings. There is fruit as well as a yogurt bar with add-in "fixins", breads and pastries, and cold cereal and milk. Fresh brewed locally roasted Kaladi coffee and a wide selection of teas will get you started, as well as a choice of four juices. Vegetarian? Vegan? Gluten-free? We should have something for just about every taste and dietary need! In the off-season, we deliver continental breakfast baskets to your frig for your convenience.


If you want to cook meals in your private kitchen, your kitchen is stocked with plates, utensils, coffee mugs, glasses, wine glasses, and pots and pans (except for our two Luxury Cottages which do not have an oven/stove and therefore no pots or pans). There is a coffee maker and toaster. Dish soap and dish towels are provided.


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Staying with Pets


We welcome pets to stay with guests! There is a $20 per pet per night charge, and we appreciate advance notice that you are bringing your pet(s).


You are welcome to explore our property with your pet! Dogs and cats must always be on leash at all times when outside of your cottage or apartment. There are trails in the woods and lots of areas to check out together! We have two indoor/outdoor cats. If your unleashed animal chases our cats, we will ask you to leave and no refunds will be issued.


You must pick up after your dog and dispose of it in one of our outdoor garbage cans. Please do not change our decision to welcome pets by leaving poop piles on our property. Please do not leave your pet in your cottage or apartment without you being there, unless they are crated and calm. If your pet is barking or making noise, we will call you to come get them, since other guests may be trying to rest or relax.


We keep our cottages and apartments in tip-top condition so each set of guests can feel like they’re the first ones to stay in there! If your pet does damage to furniture, flooring, walls or doors during your stay, we will ask you to cover the cost of repair or replacement. If your animal is one that claws furniture or doors, this is not the best location for you to stay. There are others we can recommend that are more lenient and not as careful about what they want to offer to their next guests. We want your stay to be great, whether it’s with us or not—we’re happy to help you find the right place.


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Tips for taking videos and pictures of our mooses

A mom moose and her new calf are around most of the year, and guests enjoy watching them from the front porch or through the windows of their rooms! They are lanky and awkward looking, but move quite gracefully and quickly. In some videos, you can hear Little Girl the husky barking at the moose--they pay her no mind most of the time. They're happy to mosey through and eat all the berries and fruit trees at the B&B.


Guests should only view the moose from a distance and with a defensible structure between you and the moose. We suggest taking pictures or video from your rooms or from the front porch because you can retreat into the house quickly if a moose charges. Use your camera's zoom to get you closer and never put yourself at risk. Never wander out into the middle of the lawn with moose just yards away, and be aware of where the calf is in relation to Mom Moose.




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Now Serving: B&B Recipes


homemade breakfast at our Alaska bed and breakfast near Palmer Alaska

Spring & Summer Bring the special touch of a gourmet B&B breakfast to your home with these easy recipes. Enjoy summer's bounty at the peak of ripeness with fresh salads and light lunches. The Midnight Sun grows our vegetables giant-sized,and one salmon run after another give Alaskans good cause to celebrate with fish barbeques and picnics. 
More for this B&B recipe >>>


Fall's Bounty: A bounty of best berries, fruits, garden produce and fine meats bring abundance to the table. When families get their two moose each fall, it means filling winter dinners of moose chili, moose tacos, mooseburgers, roasts, ribs, and every other possible way to fix it. Warm, bubbly crumbles using local berries and other delicious desserts round out a good meal. 
More for this B&B recipe >>>


Winter With the holidays around the corner, enjoy delicacies like Halibut Olympia, Kodiak scallops or King Crab, a New Year's tradition in Alaska. During those below-zero days, we all feel like we need a little dessert--here are ones that will become your family's favorites. 
More for this B&B recipe >>>


Special Events These are favorites from Karen's catering clients, the
ones that get requested time and again. Great for your special event or
just something different at home. Celebrate, whatever the occasion, 
by making something delicious. 
More for this B&B recipe >>>


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