Before you get to town, you’ll get your first glimpse of Denali (Mt. McKinley). About 13 miles down the Talkeetna Spur Road just across from the entrance to the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, there’s a pull-out on the left. You’ll get great views with the Susitna River and foothills in the foreground. The peaks in the foreground are 3,000–4,000 feet high, roughly the vertical gain of most ski resorts in the American West. And behind them looms Denali, five times as high!
Departing from this pullout is a 1.5-mile-long loop that is heavily used in the winter for skiing. It also makes for a nice summertime walk; at the midpoint you're walking along a ridge above the Susitna River that has some nice views of the Alaska Range. To access the trail, park at the south end of the Mt. McKinley Scenic Overlook parking lot, just 1 mile south of Talkeetna. Walk south about 100 yards uphill and you'll see a trail access sign off to the right. This loop is quite hilly and has potential to be muddy after it's rained.