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Hear That Train A-Coming

Talkeetna is an exciting railroad town that was isolated from the road system for many years. It has served for decades as a staging area for McKinley climbers.

The town has an active social life, and a strong sense of community. People here love to celebrate the Alaskan lifestyle.


Talkeetna Street Life

There’s always something wonderful happening in Talkeetna.

There are outdoor eateries, and benches for just sitting around. You can wander up and down Main Street, looking at the shops, or hang out, drinking a cup of coffee and watching everyone else.

Although there are many tourists in town in the summer, there are also lots of local people, enjoying themselves.


The Beautiful Downtown Talkeetna Sign

A homemade sign has welcomed travelers to Beautiful Downtown Talkeetna for over 30 years.

It’s become such a big part of Talkeetna life that you’ll often see local folks incorporating the joke in their personal creativity.


The High Life In Curry

Curry is around 20 miles up the tracks from Talkeetna.

It took two days to travel between Seward and Fairbanks on the train and Curry was the halfway point. An elegant resort hotel, complete with a pool and tennis court, was built there.

The Curry Hotel opened in 1923. Tourism soon boomed in Curry, bringing with it a 1926 annex that included a 65-foot covered balcony and a three hole gold course. The hotel also provided rail service for fishermen to nearby Willow and Montana Creeks. More annexes soon followed.

By 1947, there was a ski slope in Curry, and Anchorage tourists took weekend railroad jaunts out to the hotel.

In 1957, the Curry Hotel burned to the ground and was not rebuilt.

 

Climb Every Mountain

America’s highest mountain was first formally recorded in 1794 by the explorer George Vancouver.

In the gold rush, prospectors criss-crossed Alaska, busily naming landmarks after hometown polticians.

In 1896, this mountain was named after the president, William McKinley.

The mountain is still called McKinley, but the name of the park surrounding it was changed from McKinley National Park to Denali National Park.

The Athabascan word “Denali” means “The Great One.”


Home Base For Mountaineers

First and foremost, Talkeetna is the place where mountaineers from all over the globe assemble every spring.

Flight services at the airport ferry them to various climbing locations, including the McKinley base camp at the 7,200 foot level of the Kahiltna Glacier.


Take A Spin Around McKinley

The best place to view Mount McKinley is from the Talkeetna-Trapper Creek area.

On a sunny day, take a flightseeing trip around the mountain. You can even land by plane on a glacier. Sometimes you can spot wildlife or mountain climbers from the air.


Two Museums

Gold miners came to this area in 1896.

The town reflects the flavor of 1917-1940 when it was an isolated gold mining community along the railroad tracks. There was no Parks Highway, and people got off the train here and crossed the river to Trapper Creek and their Petersville mining claims.

There are two museums – the Talkeetna Historical Society Museum and the privately operated Museum of Northern Adventures, which features 24 scenes of Alaskan life, with life-size figures.

Like most creative efforts in rural Alaska, both museums are actually do-it-yourself projects by ambitious local people.


Talkeetna History

There are historic buildings all over Talkeetna. All are within easy walking distance. You’ll find signs tacked to cabins, telling their historic background.


Talkeetna Roadhouse

Two brothers who worked as freighters built what later became the Talkeetna Roadhouse. Frank and Ed Lee put up the original log buildings in 1917.

During the 1970’s as Mt. McKinley drew climbers from around the world, the Roadhouse fed and housed the mountaineers at long tables, family-style.

Summer visitors can view banners and other tokens left by the climbers over the years.


Why Talkeetna Is Where It Is

Three rivers – the Talkeetna, Chulitna and Susitna rivers – meet at Talkeetna. This was an Indian village, and the word “Talkeetna” meant "where the rivers meet".

It was an early trading post and gold rush town during the late 1890’s. In 1910, it was a riverboat landing for gold miners. Then it became a major town during the construction of the Alaska Railroad.

While in Talkeetna, you’ll see the influences of all these factors. In 1993, much of Talkeetna was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Hey Mountain Mamas!

The Mountain Mama Contest is held every July. It is a wood-chopping, water-hauling, straight-shooting, clothesline-loading competition for women.


Take the Talkeetna Train to Hurricane

The Alaska Railroad has depots in Fairbanks, Denali Park and Talkeetna.

In the winter, people travel from Anchorage to Fairbanks and stop at 25 spots, including Chase, Sunrise and Curry near Talkeetna.

In the summer, the Anchorage to Fairbanks run stops at Talkeetna, Denali and Fairbanks.

There’s a great local train. It’s called the “Hurricane” and runs in the summer from Talkeetna to Hurricane, 50 miles away.


 

+ Activities + Things to Get
+ Where to Stay + Where to Eat

talkeetna moose

Fly McKinley - Talkeetna Air Taxi



ACTIVITIES
Alaska River Pro
Dave Fish Alaska Fly Fishing
K2 Aviation
Phantom Salmon
Sheldon Air
Talkeetna Air Taxi

THINGS TO GET
Cubby's Marketplace
Kahiltna Birchworks Birch Syrup
Stylin Talkeetna
Talkeetna Gifts & Collectables

WHERE TO STAY
Montana Creek Campground
Talkeetna Motel & Lounge
Talkeetna Roadhouse
Willow Creek Resort


WHERE TO EAT
Cubby's Marketplace
Mountain High Pizza
Talkeetna Roadhouse
Talkeetna Subway

TALKEETNA INFORMATION
Talkeetna Chamber Of Commerce


TALKEETNA, ALASKA MAPS AND FEATURES
+ Map: Downtown Talkeetna
+ Map: Talkeetna and Surrounding Area
+ Map: Denali Parks Overview

RELATED MAPS AND FEATURES
+ Map of Alaska Museums
+ Map of Parks Highway Campgrounds

In Talkeetna, Don't Miss...
• Talkeetna’s museums
• Main Street
• Historic buildings
• View of McKinley
• Fishing
• Raft & boat trips

WELCOME TO TALKEETNA

Much of this hopelessly Alaskan town is on the National Register of Historic Places. Lots of lively people, plenty of historic buildings. Interesting places to stay and eat. Flightseeing of McKinley is big. They say that "Northern Exposure," the TV show, was based on Talkeetna.

BUNNY BOOTS 101

An all-white cold weather boot developed by the military.

These tough winter boots have become standard outdoor gear for Alaskans. Snowmachiners, Iditarod mushers, and ice fishermen all wear them.

They are essentially a rubber boot wrapped around a felt core. The rubber shell keeps the felt insulation dry when you walk across a stream, or if you step in overflow and your boots fill with water. Your socks get wet, but the felt keeps them from freezing.

So what you have here is a big, heavy, sweaty – but warm – rubber boot.

 

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