A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
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A quirky town picturesque, eccentric and big on character
Talkeetna's community of about 850 is picturesque, eccentric and lovable. On clear days Mount McKinley overwhelms the horizon. Moose wander through the streets and salmon jaunt up the Talkeetna River. But as a tourist destination, Talkeetna opens and closes to the rhythms of the Alaska Railroad, which brings thousands of visitors each summer.
Here are lists of companies that provide useful services to visitors with a busy schedule.
Sleeping and eating
Tours and activities
"When the first train comes, we open up. When the last train runs, we close," said Michael Kelly, Talkeetna Museum curator.
You don't just stumble upon Talkeetna. Travelers on their way from Anchorage to Denali National Park or Fairbanks have to decide to head into Talkeetna. It's a 14-mile trip up the Talkeetna Spur Road from the Parks Highway, but it's worth the detour.
While it's not big on size, it is big on character. And it's got just about everything someone could want in an Alaska vacation: flightseeing trips to Mount McKinley, fishing, river rafting, jet boat trips, hiking, history, Iditarod mushers and artists.
Several new businesses opened in 2009. The Salmon Berry boutique, owned by Mandy Harley, provides handmade pottery. Moose Juice and Nuggets sells cold drinks and roasted nuts of all varieties. The Flying Squirrel Bakery-Café, located just outside town, offers discounts to those who arrive by foot, pedal, dog sled and any other means not requiring gasoline.
One of the most popular additions is the new Twister Creek Restaurant and Denali Brewing Company. Owners and brewers Boe Bennett and Sasson Mossanen create unique, original beer incorporating flavors such as local blueberries. The restaurant is on Main Street, with an open deck.
"We hope to have the staple beers and to experiment. We hope to always have something new for people," Bennett said.
Denali Arts Council
The council presents many dramas, art shows, live concerts, photography displays and, in the summer, a daily documentary about famous bush pilot Don Sheldon.
WHERE: Sheldon Community Arts Hangar, D Street, downtown Talkeetna
WHEN: Programs vary; Sheldon documentary 2 p.m. daily in summer
COST: $8 adults, $6 seniors, free for under 12
A ride with a dog team gives a taste of the mushing lifestyle. Huskytown tours include interactive gear displays, meeting the dogs and a dog tour on a wheeled cart. Learn what it takes to get mushers and dogs ready for the race season.
WHERE: Mile 7.8 Talkeetna Spur Road
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in summer, by appointment only in winter
COST: $35 per person in summer, $50 per person in winter
A great way to get outdoors and see the stunning natural surroundings is to raft the Talkeetna or Susitna rivers. Many companies in Talkeetna offer packages for scenic tours and Class III whitewater rafting. On The Fly Outfitters and Mahay's Riverboat Service offer tours of the Talkeetna River canyon.
COST: $65-$110 per person; tours vary
Talkeetna Heritage Museum
Explore the wonders of Talkeetna's remarkable history. From the early settlers and Native tribes to the first groups to summit Mount McKinley, the five-building museum has artifacts, memorabilia and even the largest topographical map of Denali built entirely to scale. Daily talks by a park ranger and staff.
WHERE: Talkeena Spur
WHEN: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily in the summer; by appointment in the winter
COST: $3 per person; children under 16 are free
Wilderness Woman Contest
This fun-filled festival challenges single women to compete for utter Alaska womanhood. They haul water buckets in a race for strength and efficiency, make a sandwich for a local bachelor, drive a snowmachine, catch a fish, climb a tree and lug a load of firewood. The woman who performs the fastest and most accurately wins. The contest benefits women and children in crisis.
WHERE: Downtown Talkeetna
Fourth of July
Each year Talkeetna celebrates the national holiday with parades, fireworks and general jovial spirits. If you are in town on the Fourth, join the locals in the celebration of our nation's independence.
WHEN: Fourth of July
Open Air Market
Alaska artisans showcase their work at this market. Stroll through and find locally made jewelry, art, carvings, ceramics and much more.
WHERE: Sheldon Community Arts Hangar
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Monday, May 29 through mid-September.