Willow Area Community Organization

Willow Trails Committee

Mission Statement

To provide safe and enjoyable recreational trails for Willow residents and visitors.


  1. Identify historic and currently used trails.
  2. Obtain public use easements for recreational trails and trailheads.
  3. Maintain trails for safe and enjoyable use while protecting the natural resources.
  4. Provide information to the public on trail safety and etiquette.
  5. Provide a forum for trail related issues.

Trail Report

Willow Trail Committee Report for December 2015:

With just the right amount of snow and cold (usually) and lots of public land and open spaces, Willow is fortunate to have the finest winter trails in the State.

Our trail committee manages three distinct trails systems.
West Gateway Trails, located west of the Parks Highway and extend to the Susitna River are very popular with snow machines, dog mushers, skiers and increasingly, fat tire bikers. Since the Willow Community Center has direct access, these trails are venues for many races and events including the Iditarod. The trails are well signed and groomed by volunteers weekly and can be accessed from the community center, the West Gateway trailhead on Crystal Road and Deshka Landing.

The Haessler/Norris and Emil Stancec trails are located east of the Parks Highway, south of Willow Creek for the former and north of the creek for the latter. These trails are multi use but are maintained and used by dog mushers. Access to these trails can be made via the East Gateway Trailhead on the corner of Willer Kash and James Carter Roads and the Houston-Willow Creek Trailhead on the Parks Highway just north of Houston.

Maps for these trails are available for download below.

Willow Area Winter Trail Plan

The June 2006 edition addressing winter trails is available both as a downloadable PDF and as text indexed by section.

Willow Summer Trails Master Plan

Download Summer Trails Plan Final [June 2011]
(LARGE pdf: 13M)

Trail History

We hope to document early uses of our various trails, both for their historical value and to preserve precedence.

Trail Links

Willow Trail Committee Facebook page Like their page to keep track of trail news and trail conditions.

EagleQuest Cabins & Lodge. Food and lodging adjacent to trails, checkpoint for many trail events and host to Willow activities.

Alaska State Trails Program, State recreational trails, grants and trail resources can be found here.

Matanuska-Susitna Borough Community Development; information on trails, trail conditions, projects, maps, etc.

Willow Running Club; provides an opportunity for foot races and running events in the Lower Susitna Valley while promoting the Willow area trails and supporting healthy communities.

Willow Dog Mushers Association; protecting and preserving the sport of dog mushing through education, communication, recreational activities and competition.

Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation; developing and maintaining quality trails and parks within the Borough.

Valley Mountain Bikers and Hikers is a recreational trail advocacy group based in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley region of Alaska, dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of sustainable trails for hikers and mountain bikers throughout the Matanuska-Susitna Valley.

Big Lake Trails, Inc’s web site has information about activities and projects, rides and events. Additionally, members can download trail data (GPS, Maps, GoogleEarth trip planning etc).

Mid-Valley Trail Club; (Susitna Landing) have maps (for download) of Trapper Lake area trails on their web site

Alaska Trails; trail advocacy group, working to build and preserve trails for all trail users.

American Trails; nations largest online trails resource

Willow Trails Committee
Phone:495- 6368 Email: trails@waco-ak.org
Meets: 3rd Wednesday/Month, WCC, 7PM