Talkeetna, Alaska is possibly one of the most iconic south-central Alaskan towns. Filled with a delightful mix of artists, bush pilots, mountaineers, brew masters, and musicians, a diverse cast of characters populates the town of about 700 people.
Talkeetna was initially founded as a railroad hub for the Alaskan Railroad system in 1916. It is now connected to the Alaskan road system via the Talkeetna Spur off of the Parks Highway, about 2 ½ hours north of Anchorage. Visitors are often treated to spectacular views of the Alaska Range.
Many of the original 1900s buildings remain, such as the Talkeetna Roadhouse and Nagley’s General Store. From 1997 until his death in 2017, the honorary mayor of Talkeetna was Stubbs the Cat, an orange tabby who was often seen at Nagley’s and throughout the streets of Talkeetna.
Though the town is small, there is plenty to see and do in Talkeetna, and it is well worth the trip to spend some time getting to know this historic village. Everything is within walking distance, so bring some comfortable shoes and enjoy the town.
- Tune in to the local radio station, 88.9 KTNA. Here you can find entertaining locally hosted shows, the latest Talkeetna news, and NPR programming. For over 25 years, the station has been broadcasting from a small log cabin in downtown Talkeetna. The community station provides interesting educational and cultural programming.
- The Talkeetna Historical Society Museum is located in the original Talkeetna school building and is open to the public for $5/person. Here you will learn about Talkeetna’s colorful past and many of the people who have made the town infamous: bush pilots, gold miners, mountaineers, trappers, and native peoples.
- Have a cup of coffee and shop at Nagley’s. Right on the main drag, you will find the red and white General Store, filled with interesting bits of this and that and enough history to fill your mind. Don’t forget to stop and pet the kitties!
- Grab some grub at the Talkeetna Roadhouse. Another chunk of Talkeetna history is the Roadhouse, where for a century travelers have lodged before embarking on a variety of adventures. This is often a base for climbing trips to Denali (Mt. McKinley), and home-made hearty meals will fuel any adventure you may have in mind.
- Enjoy local art at the Dancing Leaf Gallery. This is a newer building to Talkeetna, but it showcases truly Alaskan artists. There is something for everyone from jewelry and wood carving to prints and paintings.
- Splurge on a flight-seeing tour. There are a number of flight tour operators in Talkeetna, including K2 Aviation, Talkeetna Air Taxi, and Sheldon Air Service. To truly appreciate Alaska, you really do need to see it from the air! Fly in to Denali base camp and land on a glacier. See North America’s tallest peak face-to-face, and enjoy the scenic splendor from a birds-eye view.
- Book a fishing trip on the river. The Susitna and Talkeetna Rivers are home to many varieties of Alaskan Salmon, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, and Arctic Grayling. The Talkeetna Fishing Guides offers a variety of fishing trip packages, from a few hours to a few days. They can also help you with shipping your catch back home, or getting a trophy mounted for your wall.
- Talkeetna’s largest celebration of the winter, called Winterfest, takes place during the entire month of December, and features a motorized Parade of Lights, a lighted tree in the Village Park, a Taste of Talkeetna, and numerous special events hosted by local businesses and special events at Talkeetna Public Library. The Wilderness Woman competition and Bachelor Auction (a fundraiser for domestic violence victims) takes place the first weekend in December and brings some heated competition from around the state.
- Have a pizza at Mountain High Pizza Pie. Made from scratch and featuring some very unique flavors, Mountain High Pizza Pie is a great way to unwind from a busy day. Locally made beer is available as well.
- Catch some live music and have some drinks at the Fairview Inn. The Fairview has been open since 1923 and hosts a variety of music from local musicians. Be sure to check out all the photos of old gold rush era can-can girls and famous mountaineering personalities. The Inn is on the National Register of Historic Places.