Talkeetna is a historic village that sits below the highest mountain in North America, Denali.
Located 114 miles north of Anchorage, or a 2-hour drive, Talkeetna is a popular year-round destination known for its many summer and winter activities.
Whether you’re a history buff, photographer, or adventure seeker, I’m going to share the best things to do in Talkeetna, Alaska.
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Top 11 Things To Do In Talkeetna, Alaska
- Top 11 Things To Do In Talkeetna, Alaska
- Best Things to do in Talkeetna in Summer
- Best Things to do in Talkeetna in Winter
- Other Things To Do Near Talkeetna
Traditional Land: Denai’ina Ełnena. The name Talkeetna comes from the Dena’ina word K’Dalkitnu, which means “river of plenty.”
How to get to Talkeetna from Anchorage
Talkeetna is located 114 miles north of Anchorage. It’s about a 2-hour drive. The last 14-mile stretch follows the spur road off the main highway.
- Drive north on the Glenn Highway
- Exit on Talkeetna Spur Road
- Follow the spur road 14 miles to reach downtown
Best Things to do in Talkeetna in Summer
1. Denali Flightseeing Tour
Denali means “The High One.” At 20,310 feet, Denali is the highest peak in North America, and you can soar around it while on a Denali flightseeing tour. Flightseeing trips depart from the Talkeetna Airport and some tour options include a glacier landing on Ruth Glacier. This bucket-list activity is a must for anyone that wants to see Alaska’s incredible mountains up close!
Read: Best Denali Flightseeing and Glacier Landing Tour From Talkeetna
2. Ride a Flag-Stop Train
Talkeetna has one of the last flag-stop trains in the US! You can ride the Hurricane Turn Train 55 miles to Hurricane Gulch bridge, which arches 296 feet above Hurricane Creek. While this isn’t the most scenic route along the Alaska Railroad, it’s definitely a unique experience and has the potential to be an epic adventure if you decide to get off the train to camp overnight before flagging down the train to get picked up the next day.
3. View Denali and Susitna River
At the end of Main Street, you can access the Denali View Walking Trail. The trail has a small beach area and parallels the Susitna River. On a clear day, you can see Denali from here! If you follow the trail north, it starts to parallel the Talkeetna River until you reach the Alaska Railroad bridge towards the Chase Community Trail. During the winter, it’s really cool to watch the ice floes floating down the river.
4. Explore Downtown
“Welcome to beautiful downtown Talkeetna.” Talkeetna is full of rich history and you can learn all about it at the Talkeetna Historical Society Museum. Or check out the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station to view climbing artifacts and learn about mountaineering. If you plan on climbing Denali, you can also acquire your permit here! Downtown is also full of restaurants, gift shops, and other quirky sights. Walk around and see what you can find.. you may even run into the town’s cat Mayor.
5. Tasty Bites
Downtown is a great place for foodies. Talkeetna Spinach Bread food truck is known for the best spinach bread you will taste in your life! One of my favorite things to eat at Talkeetna Roadhouse is a Razzie, which is a cinnamon roll with a raspberry swirl. I suggest taking a few extra to go and warm them up in the oven. Unfortunately, the Roadhouse has changed a lot over the course of the recent pandemic. Hopefully the bakery will be back to normal in 2023.
6. Bike Single Tracks
If you like biking, you can ride the single track around XYZ Lakes. You’ll start your ride on the X Lake Loop, which is a fun 3.5-mile track around X Lake. If you want to ride for longer follow the Marten Loop around Z Lake (1.95 miles) and the Otter Loop around Tigger Lake (1.87 miles). You can access the trail off of Comsat Road near the Talkeetna Transfer Station. This is a multi-use trail that is used by hikers, bikers, and skiers year-round. Watch out for moose and bears! Here’s a map of the trail system.
7. Canoe Trail Portage
Talkeetna Lakes Park is also a great place for canoeing and kayaking. There is a two-mile chain of lakes created by a few connected land portages. While you’re on the water, you can fish for trout or sit in quiet and watch for wildlife. One of my favorite Alaska wildlife encounters happened here when I saw a moose and two calves drinking water from the lake! You can access the route in a few different places: the main trailhead, the north side of Y Lake, and Whigmi Road.
8. Listen to Live Music
I love listening to live music and this town has a lot of it! Most of the music is played at the bars and restaurants on Main Street. Fairview Inn usually has music playing from Thursday to Sunday. Other places to listen to music in town include Mountain High Pizza Pie and occasionally Flying Squirrel Bakery Cafe. During the summer, the Live at Five summer concert series takes place every Friday at Talkeetna Village Park.
Best Things to do in Talkeetna in Winter
9. Photograph Denali Mountain
I love winter photography. If you’re in Talkeetna in winter then you’ll want to keep your camera handy. One of my favorite places to view Denali is at this viewpoint along the Talkeetna Spur Road. It’s located on your way into town and has a small parking lot. When the weather cooperates and the sky is clean, you’ll have some amazing views of Denali here!
10. Oosik Ski Race
The Oosik Ski Race is a fun xc ski race that celebrates the end of the ski season. It’s held in Talkeetna at the end of March and lots of skiers choose to dress up in costumes. You can choose to ski 10km, 25km, or 50km. If you don’t ski but still want to be a part of the fun, you can volunteer for the event. All participants and volunteers are able to get into the after-party, which makes for a really fun night in the town!
11. Stay in a Yurt
Winter is still a great time to be in Talkeetna. There are a lot of fun events that happen like Winterfest, Bachelor Ball and Auction, Wilderness Woman Contest, and Talkeetna Ice Fest. If you’re looking for fun places to stay in Talkeetna while you’re in town, why not stay in a cozy yurt? You can find lots of accommodation options on Airbnb.
Other Things To Do Near Talkeetna
If you’re looking for more ideas on things to do, you could fish for salmon or trout, take a jet boat down the river, try local birch syrup, attend the Beer Festival, feel the train rush past you on the Talkeetna River bridge, take the ski train to Curry, visit the Climbers Memorial or enjoy First Saturday Art.
If you want to head out of town, there are a lot of other things to do near Talkeetna. You can visit Hatcher Pass or head up to Denali State Park or Denali National Park.
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Do you have any questions on things to do in Talkeetna Alaska? Let me know in the comments.