Ultimate Guide: The Top 16 Things to Do in Talkeetna, Alaska

Tucked away in the heart of Alaska’s wilderness lies the charming town of Talkeetna, a hidden gem brimming with natural beauty and adventure. As you’ll see below, many things to do in Talkeetna will fill your soul with joy!

Surrounded by majestic mountains, vast forests, and pristine rivers, this picturesque destination offers abundant outdoor activities that will leave nature enthusiasts awe-struck. But it’s not just the breathtaking landscapes that make Talkeetna special; its unique blend of quirky charm and rich history also add to its allure.

A view of the Alaskan range. This flightseeing tour is the best of the things to do in Talkeetna.

Whether seeking thrilling adventures or a peaceful retreat amidst Mother Nature’s embrace, Talkeetna will captivate your senses and leave you wanting more.

A Visitors Guide to the Top Rated Things to Do in Talkeetna

In this article, we will explore some of the most captivating things to do in Talkeetna, ensuring an unforgettable experience for every visitor who ventures into this Alaskan paradise.

Is Talkeetna Worth Visiting?

Yes, it is! Talkeetna is so worth visiting, and its charm blew me away when we visited during the summer months. With so many things to do in Talkeetna, you want to spend at least one night, if not two, here to maximize your time.

However, I will say that the reason to go to Talkeetna more than anything is to hop on a Denali Flightseeing Tour. If you do not do that, I would think twice about going.

It’s a lovely town, but its proximity to Denali is the main attraction.

My Favorite Things to Do in Talkeetna During the Summer

Hiking around Talkeetna

The hiking isn’t jaw-dropping but allows you to connect with nature and stretch your legs. These are only hikes from the Talkeetna area. Other good nearby hikes will be included in the Denali State Park section.

  • Talkeetna River Trail
  • Talkeetna Lake Trail
  • Otter Loop

These are all generally doable for families and people of all skill levels.

Related: Best places to camp in Alaska

One of the best things to do in Talkeetna is photographing Denali.

Denali Flightseeing Tour

This is hands down the best of the things to do in Talkeetna. I’ve never been so in awe of an experience like I was flying around Denali. I already loved Alaska, but I think this Denali flightseeing tour made me fall head over heels for this place.

We did the Grand Denali Tour with a Glacier Landing, and it was profoundly the best thing I’ve ever experienced. If you have good weather, it’s a must.

The jagged peaks of the Alaskan Range.

Photograph Denali from Talkeetna Riverfront Park

The views of the tallest mountain in North America are superb. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Talkeetna. You can get a stunning view of the River Front Park from the end of town.

No bad days here!

Views of Denali from Talkeetna.

Walk around Talkeetna’s Mainstreet

Spend some time popping into the shops and tasting the delicious food! We loved grabbing some ice cream and walking into Aurora Dora’s small photography shop. Her northern lights photos were gorgeous!

Hanging out in downtown Talkeetna

Go to Denali Brewing

Whether on your way in or out, make sure to top by Denali Brewing Co. Their beers are delightful and one of the top things to do in Talkeetna.

Beers from Denali Brewing Co.

Backcountry Foraging Tour

Are you ready to get dirty but also healthy?! This sounds like a fantastic tour to get you away from the crowds and into nature. Spend time foraging for wild greens, fungi, or berries, then cook them in the backcountry!

Exhilarating Zipling

Are they looking for one of the most thrilling things to do in Talkeetna? This is it! Grab your hardness (okay, they provide it) and go zipping through the forests near Denali!

Explore Denali State Park

Denali State Park is one of the best things to do in Talkeetna. It’s just a little north of the town and off the highway as you head toward Denali National Park.

There are a dozen or more trails to choose from, but the following seem the best.

  • Curry Ridge Trail (you can make this a 30-mile point-to-point multi-day hike if you want)
  • Cascade Lake Trail
  • Moose Flats Loop Trail
  • Little Coal Creek Trail
Photographing Denali is one of my favorite things to do in Talkeetna.

Go Fishing

Grab your gear and hit the water. I don’t fish, so I’m not sure if this is the best place to do it (I’m sure not compared to the prime spots), but if you enjoy spending time on the water with a rod in hand, you won’t be bummed.

Raft on the local rivers

Hop on a boat near Talkeetna and see the views of Denali and the surrounding Alaskan Range in a way most people don’t! I didn’t do this, but I did see many people on them, and it sure looks like a fun time!

Seaplane Ride

Views from the air outside of Talkeetna.

If you don’t want to spend the money on a Denali flightseeing trip but still want to see the region from the air, this option is less expensive. You’ll get a new vantage point of the Talkeetna Mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and the Alaskan Range from a distance.

Rent Bikes and Go Cycling

Rent bikes locally in Talkeetna, hit the pavement or dirt paths, and see the sights around town. This is perfect for those who have been hiking and want to change it up or those without a lot of time and want to cover more ground than walking.

Hop on the Denali Star Route Train

Everyone says the train ride from Anchorage to Denali is a bucket list thing to do! If you’re not renting a car or want to enjoy the scenery without focusing on the road, this is a tremendous way to do it. Or, drive to Talkeetna, hop on here, and head to the Alaskan Range.

Whatever route you choose, you won’t be disappointed by the views!

Hang out with Sled Dogs

I can’t do this at home. Go check out the Talkeetna Dog Kennel, Mush Sled Dogs, or spend a day with them. These are some of the cutest and probably most athletic dogs you’ll ever see. It’s definitely one of the most unique things to do in Talkeetna.

Flightseeing views of the Alaskan Range.

Tour a Musk Ox Farm

This isn’t technically in Talkeetna, but it’s right on the way if you’re driving up from Anchorage. This is probably as unique of a tour as you’ll find. I mean, how many people see Musk Ox in the Lower 48? None probably!

Reindeer Walk

Another supremely unique tour idea! This is likely best for families with younger kids who will be enthralled with the idea of seeing a reindeer. And for $60, not a huge money suck. If you’re looking for one of the things to do in Talkeetna, you can’t do outside of Alaska, this is it!

Other Alaska Articles you may like
Guide to Kenai Fjords National Park
Ten things to do in Wrangell St Elias National Park
Driving the 134-mile Denali Highway
Read all my Alaska work here

How to get to Talkeetna?

There are three ways to reach Talkeetna. You can fly, drive, or take a train.

I would personally say drive, as the distance isn’t too far from Anchorage (two hours or so), and the views are not good enough to warrant a flight between the two. Now, if you plan only to use trains, hop on and get cruising!

Drive time from these points of interest in Alaska:

  • Anchorage: 2 hours
  • Fairbanks: 4.5 hours
  • Denali: 2.25
  • Valdez: 5.5 hours
  • Seward: 4.25

Where to stay in and around Talkeetna

Not a huge town, but there are still ample places to stay in and around Talkeetna. Additionally, if you’re looking to camp, there is a nice big campground five minutes from downtown.

📍Budget Lodging: Talkeetna Inn
📍Mid-Tier Lodging: Meandering Moose
📍Luxury Lodging: Denali Overlook Inn

If you plan to camp, try the Talkeetna Boat Launch And Campground. They have what seemed like a hundred campsites to choose from.

The summit of Denali at 20,000 feet tall.

How long should I spend in Talkeetna?

I would say at least one night, if not two, depending on what you want to do. We did two nights here, though we arrived at about 10:00 pm the first night. Our main reason for visiting was the flightseeing trip, which was so incredibly worth it that I still have a hard time describing its awesomeness.

Great read: Get your camping checklist here

FAQ: Things to do in Talkeetna

How do you say Talkeetna?

You pronounce it like taa·keet·nuh. Basically, the l is silent.

How far from Talkeetna to Denali?

Driving from Talkeetna to Denali is about a 2.5-hour drive. It’s a stunning drive, and you’ll be tempted to pull over multiple times. I do suggest stopping at the Denali Viewpoint South. The view of Denali (if she’s out) is stunning.

Hanging out at the Denali South Viewpoint on our way to Denali National Park.
Denali South Viewpoint | Things to do in Talkeetna

What time does the sunset during the summer here?

In June, the sunset ranges from 11:30 pm to midnight. In July, it starts to set earlier quickly. The beginning of July has midnight sunsets, but at the end, you’re looking at just before 11 pm.

Then come August, it ranges from 10:45 pm to 9:15 pm, depending on your day. Still, the late days will allow you to enjoy all the great things to do in Talkeetna.

Wrapping up – Things to Do in Talkeetna, Alaska

The things to do in Talkeetna cater to all interests and preferences. Whether you are interested in exploring the stunning wilderness, embarking on thrilling outdoor adventures, indulging in delicious food and drink, or immersing yourself in the rich culture and history of the area, this charming Alaskan town has something for everyone.

With its breathtaking scenery, warm hospitality, and unique charm, a visit to Talkeetna is bound to be an unforgettable experience that will leave you with cherished memories for years to come.

So, pack your bags and prepare to embark on an adventure of a lifetime in Talkeetna – an experience you won’t regret!

Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.

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Author: Alec Sills-Trausch

Title: Founder of Explore with Alec

Expertise: Hiking, Backpacking, Photography, and Road Trips

Alec Sills-Trausch is a hiker, backpacker, landscape photographer, and syndicated travel writer. He enjoys showing off the beauty of the world through his photos, videos, and written work on ExploreWithAlec.com. Alec is also a 2x cancer survivor and bone marrow transplant recipient, showing the world that there is a future from this terrible disease.

He lives in Washington, where he gets to enjoy the stunning PNW mountains in addition to all the other places he attempts to visit each year! You can see more work on IG at @AlecOutside