If you are planning to spend one or two days during your Alaska vacation, here are the top things to do in Talkeetna during your visit.
The Alaskan town of Talkeetna lies near the southern border of Denali National Park & Preserve and is the check-in point for hikers going up Denali. It is also a popular location for cruisers to start or end their Alaskan experience.
The town of Talkeetna is very small and is possible to explore in one day. If you spend two (2) days, it is possible experience all you want on this list. There is a nice variety of things to do in Talkeetna on this list from adventurous to shopping and free to pricey.
Regardless of how long you stay, Talkeetna will be forever in your heart as a small Alaskan town.
Places to stay in Talkeetna
Like many other tourist towns, there are many places to stay in or around Talkeetna. The places are my list are very different and are the ones where I have some experience.
Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge is a beautiful lodge situated just outside the main part of town. We stopped here on our way back from Denali National Park and visited the lobby only. If you prefer something closer to a hotel, this is a great option for you. The lodge is one of the more popular Talkeetna hotels and you are sure to not be disappointed.
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Denali Overlook Inn
Our group stayed here and absolutely loved it. We were big enough of a group (19 of us) to reserve the entire Inn which made our stay a little more special. Here are some of our highlights of Denali Overlook Inn:
- The hosts were very accommodating and even allowed us to drive their ATV and Explorer around town.
- They made fires for us in the fire pit which had an obstructed view of Denali. Smores fixings were also provided.
- Breakfast was delicious!
- We all enjoyed having our morning coffee outside overlooking the views of Denali.
This is the perfect place to stay if you are a solo traveler and in need of a room. The restaurant is great (see below). Laundry services (do it yourself) are also available should the need arise. Our group was on a two-week trip through Alaska and this was our half point which allowed us to do laundry during our visit.
Where to eat
The Roadhouse serves the best hot cakes in town. If you have a little larger party, don’t be surprised if you end sharing a table. Don’t skip the cinnamon rolls even if you must take one to go.
Mountain High Pizza Pie
Popular pizza place in Talkeetna! We ordered a bunch of pizzas to go and most of our order was correct. Regardless, we enjoyed the pizza even though we have high pizza standards.
Denali Brewing Company
We didn’t have a meal here, just stopped in for appetizers and cold beer. A great place to sit outside and enjoy a beautiful day.
Brazilian Limeade stand for refreshments
On a hot day, stop by the limeade Airstream truck for a cool drink.
Getting around town
If you are staying in town, this is easy as you will walk everywhere. If you are staying outside of town and do not have access to a vehicle, call Talkeetna Taxi.
Related post: Visiting Alaska? Be sure to visit Seward and read how to spend a few days in Seward here.
Go hiking at Talkeetna Lakes
Talkeetna Lakes is approximately one and a half miles from downtown Talkeetna. The lakes consist of several trails totaling 8 miles. The most popular hike is the X Lake Loop Trail which is ~3 miles. There are several other trails which can been seen on this map.
The X Lake Loop Trail took us around a pristine lake where we saw a small family of ducks. The greenery and flowers around the loop are beautiful as well.
Remember you are in Alaska which means you can encounter bear or moose at any time.
Talkeetna flightseeing tour
Most of our group did a flightseeing tour in Seward, so we skipped in here. However, two people in our group did take the flight around Denali and saw glaciers from the air. If this is your only chance to see Alaska by air, you should do it here with K2 Aviation.
Watch the hiker orientation film at the Denali National Park Visitor Center
While Talkeetna isn’t officially inside Denali National Park, there is a Visitor Center for the Denali hikers to check in. They keep track of who and how many are always on the mountain.
Stop in for your National Park passport stamp, see how many hikers are on the mountain & summitted during the year.
But, don’t forget to watch the introduction movie to hiking Denali.
Walk around the cute shops
Some of the shops around Talkeetna will fall into the touristy category, but they also have some unique shopping which may or may not be for everyone. Be sure to check out Aurora Dora which shows spectacular photos of the Aurora Borealis.
If you are over 21, stop into High to see all the legal marijuana options. This isn’t my thing, but it was interesting to see how it was sold.
The Susitna River is a popular spot for rafting while visiting Talkeetna. Float trips, overnight rafting, fishing or whitewater are all available depending on the outfitter.
View Denali Mountain
If weather is cooperating, be sure to catch a view of Denali Mountain. You never know when the weather will change, and the mountain is no longer visible. If the opportunity presents itself during your visit, take it!
Views of the Denali Range are unique in Talkeetna. Ziplining is a fun and adventurous way of viewing the range while also having an adrenaline rush.
Enjoy the art around town
Around Talkeetna, there are cute pieces of art wherever you go. It will be easy to miss them, so keep your eyes open for some of the unique art.
Train stop for the Alaskan Railroad
Riding the Alaska Railroad (AKRR) is one of the more popular ways to travel around Alaska. Not only does it avoid much of the summer traffic and construction, but it also is a way to relax, enjoy the ride and see some of the places in Alaska which can only be viewed by train.
There is a stop for the AKRR in Talkeetna, which can take you north toward Denali National Park and Fairbanks or south toward Anchorage and Seward. Don’t miss riding the rails during your visit to Alaska!
12 thoughts on “Top Things To Do in Talkeetna, Alaska”
Alaska…why are you so far and expensive to get too!!! (I am based in london, UK). I really cant wait to get out there and now I think Talkeetna needs to be on the list. Looks like a great place to explore and the food place looks like its worth checking out. But its the scenery with the mountains in the background and a heck of a lot of trees which is my reason for wanting to go to this part of the world. I love the wildlife. Furthest I got in that part of the world is Jasper, Alberta, Canada – agggghhh Alaska. One day 🙂
I did a flightseeing tour for the first time last week in Whitefish. It was really neat taking off from a sea plane and having a different view of the world around you. Landing on a glacier would be so neat at scary at the same time. Super cool.
Alaska looks like such a lovely nature-filled dream! Reminds me a lot of Canada (which makes sense due to tis close proximity)! Also those hotcakes look amazing! Now I am hungry!
I’ve never heard of Talkeetna but it looks like somewhere we would absolutely love! Being so close to nature, hiking and outdoor adventure as well as how quaint the architecture is of the town is just perfect for us when we head to this region.
I’ve never heard of Talkeetna before but I’d love to spend a day or more here. The lodge you stayed in looks perfect with a blend of rustic with nice services. My kids would love the campfires. Seeing the glaciers by air would be amazing and I know my teens would enjoy ziplining. What a great variety of experiences here!
Talkeetna looks charming. I’m hoping to finally get to Alaska next year and I’m going to add this destination to my itinerary, even if it’s just for the hot cakes 🙂
A stop in Talkeetna looks like a great way to enjoy Alaska. I’m a fan of finding breweries everywhere so Denali Brewing would be one of my first stops. The hot cakes at The Roadhouse look delicious! What a fun way to spend a day exploring Alaska.
The Overlook Inn looks really cool! I would love to do a flightseeing tour over the glacier too! Alaska is attractive to me due to its wilderness areas and wildlife. thank you for sharing this post!
I’ve never been here and it looks like a fabulous area to spend time with a large group. I love that you were able to rent out the entire Inn, which probably felt like your own resort in a way. And how cool that they let you borrow their vehicles. Looks like there is plenty of activities from hiking to shopping and an array of places to eat.
So much to see in Alaska, and Talkeetna is one of these places one will see as you travel to Denali. We got to explore a bit of the area when we spent 3 days in the park, hiking and watching wildlife. The Roadhouse looks like a place we would have liked to check, food looks yummy!
My Alaskan experience was an Inner Passage cruise with daily excursions on land. It was great, but I’d really love to explore more of Alaska like Talkeetna the next time I go. It’s such a big, beautiful, largely unspoiled state!
AK SLED DOG TOURS is a MUST DO in Talkeetna!!!! Summer or winter, this is an OUTSTANDING experience! You get to learn about the supreme athlete Iditarod dogs and the kennel owned by Dallas Seavey!! New to some, it is getting RAVE REVIEWS on Tripadvisor. You can sit and ride or actually mush on dryland or snow. And then visit with PUPPIES! Definitely fun not to be missed!!