Visiting The Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, AK
Is it worth visiting Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, Alaska? What to expect? How to get there? Where did muskoxen come from in Alaska? Check our tips and photos and learn a bit about Alaska muskoxen!This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.
Visiting the Musk Ox Farm Palmer – Our Experiences
We hadn’t planned to visit Musk Ox Farm on our recent Alaska trip. It came about somewhat by chance. We were hoping to see a musk ox in the wild on our trip up the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay. On the last stretch of this route in the Happy Valley area, near the Sagavanirktok River, you can see wild herds of muskoxen. And as some of our readers know, we love wild nature and wildlife photography.
But nature played a trick on us. We saw muskoxen on the Dalton Highway, but they were far away. We had no way to get closer to the herd so we couldn’t take good photos of them. So, we were a bit disappointed by this fact. But we know that observing wildlife, whether watching bears in Alaska or bison in Yellowstone, requires patience and time.
But on our route, there was also the Hatcher Pass and visiting the Independence Gold Mine. Driving in that direction from Plamer, we saw a sign advertising Musk-Ox Farm. We haven’t heard about this place before. And since we had some spare time, we decided to check out what Musk Ox Farm is, what you can see there, and what you can expect.
What is Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, Alaska?
Musk Ox Farm in Palmer is a nonprofit organization. Their mission is dedicated to the gentle husbandry of the musk ox, a glacial mammal. In the Inupiaq language, “Oomingmak” means “The Bearded One” This once-endangered animal produces the world’s finest wool, qiviut (kiv’-ee-yoot), every year. The farm is open to visitors, who can experience these magnificent Paleolithic ruminants up close during guided tours.
The Musk Ox Farm address is 12850 E Archie Road, Palmer, Alaska, next to the Glenn Highway. They are open from 10 am to 6 pm from Mother’s Day to September. For other month’s opening hours, check on their website.
- From Anchorage is only 50 minutes of driving and about 45 miles via AK-1 N (Glenn Highway).
- If coming from Wasilla, take Parks Highway (HWY 3) south to HWY 1 East – Palmer/Glennallen Exit. Stay on the highway through Palmer and turn left onto Archie Rd.
- From Talkeetna is about 1 hour and 40 minutes of driving and about 84 miles via AK-3 S.
Our Tip: It’s a good idea to combine a visit to Musk Ox Farm with the exciting Independence Gold Mine or some hiking trails on Hatcher Pass or Hatcher Pass Drive. Another idea may be to combine the farm tour with a trip to the Matanuska Glacier.
Tours and Prices
It’s best to check the current prices and tour offers on the farm’s official website.
We paid $14 per person. The price for children aged 5-17 is $8, and for seniors 65+, the trip costs only $12. So the price is very affordable. Also, the farm is beautifully situated and provides a great experience.
Although walk-ins are accepted, booking a tour in advance during the high tourist season is a better idea. If you don’t make a reservation, you may be waiting in line for a tour. They also offer private tours and group tours.
What to Expect?
The Musk Ox farm in Palmer is beautifully situated in the picturesque Chugach and Talkeetna mountains landscape. The main building looks like a typical large Alaskan barn. There is a large parking lot in front of the entrance. The building has a gift store where you can purchase valuable musk ox fur-made items. Their wool is very warm. You can buy a hat, a scarf or gloves. The store also has exciting nature books, coloring books for children, T-shirts, mugs, and magnets. All products are of high quality and beautifully made. The bathrooms are spacious. In the room through which you go to the farm, there are also skeletons and musk ox furs, and exciting photos.
Our guide, Tom, was very knowledgeable about the animals and the farm and talked about them with great passion and in an approachable way. The excursion lasted about 45 minutes.
Is it worth visiting Musk Ox Farm in Palmer?
Yes, we recommend Musk-Ox Farm if you are in the Palmer area. Make sure to add this place to your Alaska itinerary. The farm tour has a very favorable price. Visiting this farm is an excellent idea, as it’s not easy to spot muskoxen in the wild. You will learn much about these extraordinary animals, their precious fur, and their meat.
What to Wear during a visit to Musk Ox Farm?
It’s an outdoor excursion on the grassy paths of the farm. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes. After a rain, the farm area can be a bit muddy and wet, so it’s best to keep your feet covered. And be careful not to step in musk ox droppings. As always, the weather can change in Alaska at any time, so dress in layers and pack a light rain poncho if it rains. Check out our list of what to pack for a trip to Alaska, which we’ve compiled based on our experience traveling around this vast state.
Musk Ox Facts
- The musk ox is a close relative of the sheep and goat.
- The musk ox is a stocky, long-haired animal with a slight shoulder hump and a very short tail. Both male and female muskoxen have horns, but the bulls’ horns are larger and heavier than the cows’.
- Adult bulls are about 5 feet tall and weigh 600-800 pounds. Cows are smaller, averaging approximately 4 feet tall and weighing 400-500 pounds.
- At the end of the last ice age, muskoxen were found throughout northern Europe, Asia, Greenland, North America, and Alaska. By the 1920s, muskoxen had also disappeared from Alaska.
- In 1930, 34 muskoxen were captured in East Greenland and brought to Fairbanks. This group was then moved to Nunivak Island, a large island in the Bering Sea. By 1968 the herd had grown to 750 animals. Today there are about 4000 -5000 muskoxen in Alaska.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are muskox good to eat?
Musk ox meat is edible. It’s a good source of protein, iron, and B vitamins. Musk ox meat is suitable for consumption. Their meat is an important food source for communities that rely on this traditional food.
Where can I see muskox in Alaska?
The Seward Peninsula is a place for roadside muskox viewing. Muskox are also on Nunivak Island, Nelson Island, north-central and northeastern Alaska. You can spot them along the Dalton Highway in Arctic National Wildlife Refugee.
How many musk ox are left in the world?
The current world population of muskoxen is estimated at 80,000 to 125,000. In Alaska, there are more than 5,000 muskoxen.
Are musk ox friendly?
Muskoxen are tolerant of people, but you should always stay at least 150 feet from musk ox, as they are wild animals. Also, don’t approach a female with a calf, and do not feed them.
Are musk ox as big as bison?
No, muskoxen are smaller than bison. The musk ox is one of the larger animals in the family of Bovidae. Much of the bulk seen in muskoxen comes from their thick hair, which protects them from the harsh climate in which they live.
Is musk ox fur valuable?
Yes, musk ox fur is valuable, soft, and unique. Fashion from muskox wool is expensive and in demand for its excellent insulating properties for thermal comfort in winter. Musk ox underwool is best to prevent body heat from escaping.