Where is Talkeetna?
The historic town of Talkeetna - an Indian word meaning “river of plenty” - is only 113 miles north of the metropolitan city Anchorage, at the point where the Talkeetna and the Chulitna Rivers join the Susitna River.
Described as a frontier town that resembles the popular TV show “Northern Exposure,” you'll think you've stepped back in time when you visit this charming village of 900 year-round residents. Surrounded by untamed wilderness but filled with sincere hospitality, Talkeetna is a place where you can take a leisurely walk and experience a friendly community, tour historic buildings and learn about the early settlers in this region. Fifteen of Talkeetna's twenty-four buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mt. McKinley, our “Denali”
One of the highlights for guests visiting the Talkeetna area is the opportunity to see North America's tallest peak, Mt. McKinley, or “Denali” as we call her locally. Rising above the tundra to 20,320 feet (6194 meters), outstanding views of Denali can be enjoyed from several places in town. While in town, it is common to meet some of the climbers who will attempt to summit Denali, or who have just completed their climb. They’re easily recognized by their “racoon eyes” from exposure to the bright sun, their heavy backpacks loaded with gear, and their expressions of pure joy and exhaustion from achieving such an incredible feat.
Originally, Talkeetna was the site of a Tanaina Indian village. Miners began trading at this site and established the first trading post in 1896. A gold rush to the Susitna River brought prospectors to the area, and by 1910 Talkeetna had become a riverboat steamer station. In 1915, the town was designated as the home base for the Alaska Engineering Commission, the group who would build the Alaska Railroad. The community's population rose to 1,000.
World War I and the completion of the railroad in 1919 dramatically decreased the population, which plummeted to around 300. In the last 10 years, however, Talkeetna has experienced a resurgence of new growth.
Mountain Climbers’ Paradise
Mt. McKinley is closer to Talkeetna than to the entrance to Denali National Park, making the town the take-off point for those attempting to summit North America's highest peak. This proximity affords many opportunities for flightseeing around the mountain, and many of the flightseeing companies offer glacier landings. Step out and set foot on the base of Denali, the “Great One” and you will immediately sense the ultimate granduer and beauty of Alaska.