The Knik Glacier is located just 50 miles (80 km) east of Anchorage
on the northern end of the Chugach Mountains
. The ice field averages over 25 miles (40 km) long and over 5 miles (8.0 km) across, making it one of the largest glaciers in southcentral Alaska. Knik Glacier feeds the 25-mile (40 km) long Knik River
which empties into the Knik Arm section of Cook Inlet.
Lake George, a glacial lake formed near the face of the glacier, received national recognition by the National Natural Landmark (NNL) Program. Lake George was recognized because of a unique natural phenomenon called a "jökulhlaup", an Icelandic term for glacial lake outburst flood. The breakup of this ice dam would send a violent wall of water, ice and debris down the river valley causing massive flooding and sometimes devastation to local settlers' properties. The jökulhlaup occurred annually until it ceased in 1967 due to glacial recession, thought to be associated with the massive Good Friday Earthquake of 1964.
Early pioneers were said to hold a yearly lottery, gambling on the exact date when the jökulhlaup would break and flood the Knik River Valley. The flooding would often close vital transportation routes between Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley.
In 1991 Paramount Pictures used Knik Glacier to film a portion of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Knik Glacier was the setting for a scene in which Captain Kirk and Dr McCoy are rescued from the Klingon ice planet prison Rura Penthe.
Today the glacier is a visitor attraction, sharing its natural beauty with locals and visitors from around the World
. With several tour companies operating in the area, visitors can view the glacier by air via a flightseeing company, all-terrain vehicle tour, by jetboat or by airboat charter. Local private and charter pilots provide passengers with a memorable flight-seeing trip from Anchorage to Lake George via Eagle
River, followed by a low moose-spotting flight along the Knik River.