ACTIVITIES & LINKS
Our friendly and knowledgeable staff at Talkeetna Camper Park will be happy to book any Talkeetna tour from our office.
TALKEETNA AREA RECREATION & ACTIVITIES
There is a wealth of things to do and sights to see in the Talkeetna.
Talkeetna Riverfront Park: Just beyond the West end of Main Street and close to downtown, this large river-centered park offers panoramic view of the Alaska Range (on clear days) with the river flowing below.
National Park Ranger Station: If you want to climb McKinley, you have to come here first to get your permit. But even if you’re not, it’s a fascinating lesson in mountaineering and McKinley’s history, from interpretive programs to a titillating video about climbing that shows throughout the day. The building is rustic and beautiful and hosts a permanent collection of photos of the Alaska Range. Photographer, explorer & scientist Bradford Washburn is renowned for these photos taken while mapping the mountain. They grip viewers with a realistic feel for the drama and scale of Denali’s glaciers and mountains.
Wild Woods Playground: A group of Talkeetna mom’s got passionate about a playground for their kids and through grass roots community efforts this rough-hewn, timber-style play area was built in 2008. The art of local kids is incorporated throughout the park’s mazes, mini cabins, airplane, swings and slides and a willow tree arbor fort offers a unique touch. It’s right next to the library as you arrive in town and is best for kids 2-10. Find it on the right of the Talkeetna Spur Road as you near the town of Talkeetna.
Talkeetna Historical Society Museum: Housed in a little white school house (you can see it from Main Street, right behind “Dancing Leaf Gallery), as well as 2 old railroad buildings, you can learn about this rural town’s native, gold mining and aviation history. Learn about ice roads and horses wearing snow shoes, how airplanes took over from tractors, bear traps, native artifacts and how folks survived the harsh winters of the Susitna Valley. Also, see some of the original trappers’ cabins, or get entranced in the history with their collection of photos and newspaper clippings. The museum also features a room-sized sculpted model of Mt McKinley, with photos showing each face of the mountain. The “Denali model” was fabricated in 1969 by Rauda Models in Washington state and designed by Bradford Washburn. This museum artifact is owned by the National Park Service and on permanent loan to the Talkeetna Historical Society.
Mountain Climber’s Memorial: Located at the town cemetery, on the east side of the railroad tracks, there is a collection of heart-rending memorials to mountaineers and aviators who lost their lives in pursuit of Denali and Alaska’s rugged terrain. They include the ornamental entry gate donated by a local wrought iron artist, granite plaques, a monument garden and propellers to mark the graves of bush pilots.
Sheldon Community Arts Hangar: Don Sheldon, legendary glacier pilot, built this airplane hangar in the 1950’s for his business, Talkeetna Air Service. Decades later, his wife donated the Hangar to Denali Arts Council to be used as a community arts center. They post a schedule of activities year round including art exhibits, comedy and variety shows, concerts, film festivals and youth performances on the door and signage outside.
Talkeetna Lakes Park: This recreation area with several lakes is just a mile and a half from town, but it feels like wilderness—it’s a great place to hike, run, canoe, fish, or look for wildlife. Watch for otters, beavers, bears, foxes, moose and 100-plus species of birds, including raptors and loons. The parks best feature is a nicely groomed 3.5 mile walking trail around X Lake through lush old-growth forest. Custom log benches are a nice surprise along the trail and provide some sweet views and a moment to reflect. In the fall it’s a prime blueberry picking spot. If you like to fish or paddle, the Talkeetna Lakes Park is great for that too. A peaceful and remote setting with great potential for hearing loons and other birds while surrounded by spruce trees. Another plus is that the fish and game department has been keeping it well-stocked with fish for about 30 years. And bring your bug spray: certain times in the summer the mosquitoes come out in droves. (From Talkeetna: Drive south 2 miles, turn Right on Comsat Road, it’s the first Left.)