Talkeetna Turnoff

It's Milepost 98.9. Why should you care?

Because if you make the turnoff—right where the wooden grizzly stands on its hind legs—you'll be on your way to one of Alaska's funkiest little towns: Talkeetna.

In fact, driving this 14-mile path—the Talkeetna Spur Road—is kind of like following the white bunny down the rabbit hole of Alaska. One reason: that huge mountain that you're always in the shadow of. Yes, this is where climbers base themselves for their assault on Denali (Mt. McKinley). You can't miss 'em: skin-tight neon spandex, raccoon sunburns, wild hair, the look of victory—or defeat—in their eyes. That look is called summit fever. And as tales are shared, in all kinds of languages, you can't help but catch it, climber or not.

But it's the locals who have shaped Talkeetna's character. Feisty and independent, they love that their town boasts a wild and wooly past of gold mining and trapping. They even stopped the Parks Highway from coming through town and ruining its unique personality.

You'll meet some of these locals and climbers as you wander through “downtown”—a collection of historic buildings and old miner cabins that are still very much in use. You'll quickly see that art is this town's passion: live theater productions, musicians playing in the pubs, artisans selling their creations in Main Street's shops.

And that other hum you hear? It's the call of adventure: fishing, jet boating, and river floating are all in the blood of Talkeetnans. So is flying: this is where you'll find companies with the most experience soaring around the summit of Denali. These seasoned Alaskan bush pilots stand ready to whisk you up to that magical peak, or set you down on a virgin glacier.

That's Talkeetna. That's real Alaska. So go ahead, make that turn.

Getting There

Latitude: 62.13446718
Longitude: -150.0397682
Driving Directions