This recreation area is just a mile and a half from town, but it feels like wilderness—with deep woods and several lakes, it's a great place to hike, run, canoe, fish, or look for wildlife. Watch for otters, beavers, bears, foxes, moose, and more than 100 species of birds, including raptors and loons. The park's 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. In the fall, it's a prime blueberry- picking spot.
If you like to fish or paddle, Talkeetna Lakes Park is great—a peaceful and remote setting to hear loons and other birds while surrounded by spruce trees. Another plus? The fish and game department has been keeping this area well-stocked with fish for about 30 years. Just bring your bug spray: certain times in the summer the mosquitoes come out in droves.
Kayak Tours & Rentals
Denali Southside River Guides offers a 2-hour (1.5 hrs on the water) guided kayak tour. You'll paddle around islands, catch views of Mt. Denali on a clear day, and be on the lookout for wildlife such as otters, beavers, moose, and a variety of birds. If you want more time on the water, or prefer to see the area at your own pace, ask about their rental options.
This trail system sees just as much use during the winter months. Bring your cross-country skis or fat bikes to enjoy the maze of trails, but please respect the posted signage - some trails are ski-only. Others are open to all non-motorized traffic (fat bikes, walkers, etc.). This website posts an updated winter trail map.