Talkeetna is a charming Alaska town in southcentral about two hours north of Anchorage. It’s the launch point for most climbing expeditions of Denali and has gorgeous views of the mountain. With it’s combination of walkability, outdoor opportunities, creative businesses, and history, Talkeetna has lots to like. There’s enough to do in Talkeetna to keep you entertained for days, but it’s also possible to check off a lot of the town’s activities in a single visit. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Get Out There
As the launching point for bold climbers taking on North America’s highest peak, get a real feel for the town by starting your day with a wildness adventure. There are lots to choose from. Go fishing for salmon, trout, Dolly Varden, and grayling with Phantom Tri-River Charters. Take a flightseeing trip of Denali with K2 Aviation or land on a glacier with Talkeetna Air Taxi. Go river running with Mahay’s Jet Boat Adventures.
Now that you have a taste of the adventure, it’s time to get some food in your belly so you’ll have energy for the rest of your packed day exploring what there is to do in Talkeetna. Try the Talkeetna Roadhouse, a family-style restaurant that has been operating as a full-service roadhouse since 1944. Flying Squirrel Bakery and Cafe is famous in Alaska for its baked goods and even has gluten free options. Swiss Alaska Inn also has a restaurant.
Talkeetna Historical Society Museum
Before exploring further, visit the museum, which doubles as an unofficial visitor’s center. The museum’s main building is housed in the town’s original schoolhouse, and there are several other historic buildings on site. Visit the Mountain Exhibit for a room-sized model of Denali and the surrounding Alaska Range.
The historical society created a free downtown walking tour app.
The historical society museum is in downtown, so it’s easy to leave and walk down main street Talkeetna directly after your visit. Stop in the famous Nagley’s Store, a convenience store that has operated since 1921. Nagley’s was once home to a cat who was dubbed the town’s unofficial mayor!
Take your time and drop in the stores, art galleries, and gift shops that are scattered about Talkeetna’s concentrated downtown. To learn more about Denali, stop in the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger’s Station, which shows a free film throughout the day and has information on the park and climbing.
Give in to Cravings
After cramming so much into an action-packed day, be sure to stop in Denali Brewing Company and quench your thirst with some locally brewed suds.
If it’s your sweet tooth that’s loud, head to Kahiltna Birchworks. It’ll require hopping in the car and heading down to mile 1.1 of the spur road, (don’t drink and drive if you already stopped in Denali Brewing) but it’s worth the trip. The store is of course known for its birch syrup products, but also has chaga, wild fruit products, smoked salmon, and other Alaska harvested goodies.
Plan your Return to Talkeetna
One day in Talkeetna is a whirlwind, so start planning your next trip or plan to stay two days for a more leisurely exploration of the community.