Sutton was founded as a station on the Matanuska Branch of the Alaska Railroad in 1918. The branch line was built for the sole purpose of transporting coal from the area. Sutton was also the base camp for construction of the Glenn Highway. But it was coal mining that kept the economy of Sutton humming over the years. Today the railroad is gone and there aren’t any active coal mines, but 1,300 residents remain to enjoy the scenic location and solitude of their rural community.

Sutton’s coal history can be explored at Alpine Historical Park, a museum complex on site of the Sutton Coal Washery. Among the buildings preserved there are the Chickaloon bunkhouse and the original Sutton Post Office from 1948. Hikers and bikers can enjoy the Palmer-Moose Creek Railroad Trail, which follows the former railbed between Sutton and Palmer. Access is via Moose Creek State Recreation Wayside. Nearby Seventeen Mile Lake offers fishing opportunities, while locally grown produce is available at a farmers market during the summer.