15 Best Things to Do in Talkeetna


Talkeetna is a small, idyllic village located in Southcentral Alaska.

But what this town lacks in size, it more than makes up for it with the abundant natural beauty.

Far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Talkeetna is everything you’d want in a quiet holiday.

With an incredible mix of heritage, picturesque landscapes, charming storefronts, and delectable food options, this beautiful village has a lot to offer.

If you are planning a leisurely romantic holiday, then there are a lot of things to do in Talkeetna.

Visit the Talkeetna Museum

If you are a history buff, then you need to make a visit to Talkeetna.

Originally a schoolhouse, this old building was converted into the Talkeetna Historical Society in 1972 by the locals with an aim to preserve their rich history.

This museum is filled with old artifacts and photographs that bring to life the town’s history.

It also has an entire model of the Alaskan mountain range and tells the story of the first climbers of Denali National Park.

Visiting this place will surely help you understand the rich cultural heritage of this small town.

Flightseeing Denali Tour

Flightsee Denali Tour
Juno Kim / Shutterstock.com

Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley, is the third highest peak in the world.

A complete must-see if you are in Talkeetna, this magnificent mountain range looks like it is right out of a postcard.

You can explore this area in your own vehicle or even on foot.

But the main attraction has to be the Denali Flightsee Tour that allows you to soar above pristine snow-capped mountains in a small plane or helicopter for an entire hour.

If you visit Talkeetna in summer, you could even opt for services that allow glacier landings for an unforgettable experience of walking on snow.

Ride on the Hurricane Turn Train

Hurricane Turn Train
Kolmkolm, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To catch a glimpse of the simple and unique Alaskan lifestyle in the town of Talkeetna, you should consider riding on the Hurricane Turn.

Used as a means to connect the remote parts of this country to the outside, this local train runs everyday between Talkeetna and Hurricane.

What’s interesting is that passengers can simply wave a flag from wherever they want to be picked up, and the conductor stops the train.

The vast forest landscapes, clear waters of the Indian River, as well as the occasional glimpse of the Denali on a clear day.

All of this is narrated by the train crew (with unexpected stops for wildlife sightings), making it one of the top tourist attractions

Go fishing

Fishing in the Susitna River is a popular attraction in Talkeetna, especially in the summer.

If you are travelling with kids, then this is an activity you really should not miss. The pristine, clear waters set against the backdrop of tall, snow-covered mountains, make for a lovely, quiet picnic spot with your family or partner.

Home to various species of salmon, you are sure to catch fresh bait for your next meal while enjoying the quiet and solitude that comes with fishing in a small town.

Try a water sport

White water rafting in Talkeetna lake
Paul R. Jones / Shutterstock.com

Located on the confluence of three major rivers, it is not surprising that this little village has various watersport activities to choose from.

Whether you prefer a simple boat ride to or prefer something more adventurous in the form of white-water rafting, Talkeetna doesn’t disappoint.

Apart from the thrill of these activities, the beautiful canyons, pristine beaches, picturesque mountain landscapes as well as common wildlife sightings definitely don’t disappoint!

Visit Talkeetna Lakes Park

Talkeetna Lakes Park
David_Pastyka / Shutterstock.com

Talkeetna Lakes Park is spread out over 1040 acres of land and is home to six beautiful lakes.

Visiting this lake park is a great way to experience a taste of the true Alaskan wilderness, thanks to the surrounding forests and quiet lakefronts.

The Park is also home to bears, moose and foxes along with over a 100 species of native migratory birds.

You could explore this beautiful location with the walking trail of 3.5 miles, with various stops for fishing, mountain biking, boating and snowshoeing.

Walk along the Main Street

Shops in Talkeetna Main Street
Michael Rosebrock / Shutterstock.com

Talkeetna Main Street is a 2-block street lined with cute cafés, art shops, tiny restaurants and microbreweries.

Walking along this road is the perfect way to experience the daily life in this small town.

This is the perfect place to shop for souvenirs, Alaskan art and other trinkets.

If you are lucky enough to be visiting on a clear day, there’s a very good chance of catching glimpses of the majestic Denali while walking along the Main Street.

Roadhouse Inn

Roadhouse Inn
mazaletel, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Once you finish shopping and strolling on Main Street, don’t forget to stop at the historical Roadhouse Inn started, which was started way back in 1917.

You don’t want to miss the mouthwatering sourdough starter pancakes along with some homemade pies and cinnamon rolls that are available throughout the day.

The large round tables are the perfect conversation starters with locals, mountaineers and other tourists.

Denali Zip Line Tours

Denali Zip Line Tours is the perfect way to indulge the adventurer in you.

This three-hour course spreads across nine individual zips and is a great way to pump up your adrenaline levels while taking the Alaskan natural beauty.

This activity is organized by local guides who provide information about the area, along with some much-needed encouragement to complete these heart-racing zip lines.

The zips take you through lush forest treetops of birch, cottonwood and spruce to.

Additionally, the breathtaking views of Denali and Ruth Glacier coupled with Susitna and Chultina River Valleys make this day trip an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Talkeetna River Front

The Talkeetna River Front is a park located at the confluence of the three rivers, Susitna, Talkeetna and Chulitna.

This Park is surrounded by the Alaska Range and offers stunning views of the Denali, Hunter and Foraker peaks.

If you are visiting Talkeetna with your partner, then the Talkeetna River Front is the perfect place for a romantic stroll.

Boating, campfires and rafting are some other activities that you can try at this beautiful park.

Aurora Dora is a popular gallery dedicated to the Brazilian photographer, Dora Redman.

This gallery features photographs of aurora borealis or the Northern Lights as captured by Dora in her personal journey.

The breathtaking photographs of the Northern Lights look extremely life-like and spectacular and this gallery would surely make you fall in love with this nature’s wonder.

The artist herself is most often found to be at the art gallery.

If you are lucky, you can even strike up a conversation with her about her passion for capturing the Northern Lights.

She is an absolute delight to speak with.

Go Hiking in the Wilderness

Hiking in Talkeetna
DCrane / Shutterstock.com

With abundance of nature surrounding Talkeetna, this town offers the perfect excuse to go on several hikes.

From romantic strolls along the beautiful lakefronts to full-blown mountain hikes, this place has something for every type of hiker.

Along with taking in the breathtaking views of the Alaska Range, most of these trails are a great opportunity to spot local wildlife, plants and native culture.

Depending on your preference, you could walk along the Main Street, cross the 300-year-old railroad bridge or simply choose to hike up one of the smaller peaks in the area.

Denali National Park

Bus in Denali National Park
Robbert Bouwsma / Shutterstock.com

The Denali National Park is a vast expanse of land spread out over 6 million acres.

You can drive your personal car for the first 15 miles, after which you’d have to hop onto a park bus, should you want to explore any further.

The best part about riding on the bus is that you can ask the driver to stop anywhere, and then explore the area on foot.

This is a great way to spend some quiet time in the lap of nature, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Flying Squirrel Bakery

If you want a taste of Alaskan food prepared using locally grown ingredients, then you must definitely have a meal or two at the Flying Squirrel Bakery.

Operated by renowned pastry chef, Anita Golton, this bakery has scrumptious offerings of homemade soups, grilled sandwiches and pizzas.

These preparations have a strong influence of local produces like berries, barley, birch syrup and zucchini to name a few.

The Flying Squirrel Bakery also offers a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan options as well.

The Dancing Leaf Gallery is a great way to promote local Alaskan art and is one of the top galleries in Talkeetna.

This is a perfect way to spend a couple of hours looking at the exhibits of over 150 talented local artists.

The main idea of this gallery is to promote local cottage industry artisans involved in a wide range of mediums.

The Dancing Leaf Gallery is the perfect place to appreciate everything from local talents in textile, photography, basket weaving, painting, jewelry and so much more.

Explore truly Alaskan-made products in this one-of-a-kind local art gallery in Talkeetna.

Denali Brewing Company and Tasting Room

No place is ever complete without having a drink or two at a local pub, right?

The Denali Brewing Company and Tasting Room accommodates a microbrewery and taproom as well as a brewpub.

This brewery follows sustainable brewing practices and uses the highest quality of locally sourced ingredients.

It is also one of the very few restaurants in Alaska that are open all year round.

The most famous drinks of this place are Chuli Stout, Twister Creek IPA, Single Engine and Mother Blonde Ale, so don’t forget to try them when visiting Talkeetna!

Mountain High Pizza Pie

Mountain High Pizza Pie
Jon Konrath from Oakland, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Eating local delicacies is a great way to enjoy your holiday and get yourself better acquainted with the culture of a place.

The Mountain High Pizza Pie located on Main Street was started by the Basilone family.

This casual restaurant is popular for this signature hand-tossed pizza pies that are available all year round.

The pizza pies feature unique toppings of reindeer sausage, Kalamata olives and tzatziki.

This is also a great place to have a hearty Mediterranean meal of hummus and dolma coupled with Italian flat-bread sandwiches.

The Mountain High Pizza Pie also hosts several live music events from time-to-time, and you shouldn’t miss out on these if you happen to be there.

West Rib Pub and Grill

West Rib Pub and Grill
Brian Biggs, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to enjoy a typical American meal, then you ought to visit the West Rib Pub and Grill.

Located in downtown Talkeetna, this restaurant is a quite a popular pit stop for mountaineers before moving on to the summit of Denali Mountain.

Gorge on a hearty meal of beef and caribou burgers, cheeseburgers, bar-style appetizers and seafood entrées.

The West Rib Pub and Grill also offers a wide variety of local Alaskan micro brews, that you can sip while taking in the beautiful surrounding mountainous landscapes.

Byers Lake

Byers Lake
Rick Jennings / Shutterstock.com

If you are visiting with family or have kids traveling with you, then make sure to visit Byers Lake.

This family-friendly campsite is located near the bottom of Kesugi Ridge and is surrounded by breathtaking views of Denali Mountain.

For a bit more adventure, you could even try to canoe or kayak fishing to catch rainbow trout, a local delicacy.

If you go during the summer months, you could even spend the night at one of the three public-use cabins.

These cabins come complete with modern toilets to wake up to stunning views of the lake as well as the Denali peak.

Alaskan War Veterans Memorial

Alaskan War Veterans Memorial
stellamc / Shutterstock.com

The Alaskan War Veterans Memorial is a great way to honor the rich history of Alaska.

This memorial was built in 1983 and is located inside the Denali State Park.

The five 20-foot concrete panels set in a semi-circle each honer the state’s defence - Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast and Alaska National Guard, and Merchant Marine veterans.

The main attraction of this memorial is the five 20-foot concrete panels set up in a semi-circle to represent each branch of the United States military.