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Talkeetna Travel Guide, Alaska

Located at the confluence of the big Talkeetna and Big Susitna rivers, north of Anchorage, Talkeetna has learned to sell its location as a recreational haven with a varied landscape and boasting one of the most magnificent natural wonders with breath taking mountains of which Mount McKinley is the greatest.

This town dating from the gold rush era retains the feel and the mood of a small Alaska town. The buildings are mostly clapboard houses and log cabins, but interspersed are the 15 historic houses locate downtown, reminders of Talkeetna past. Because of their location and importance in the local and national history the entire downtown area has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This historic area combines Talkeetna’s colorful past with a contemporary freshness.

If your interest is art, you shouldn't miss The Talkeetna Historical Society Museum made up of four parts and located south of Main Street. Here you can get a lot of information about the local area and its past. Exhibits depicting the city's local mining history with photographs and biographies of different characters, are to be found in the first building while the second mounts exhibits of the old railroad depot. The third is dedicated to preserving the historical legacy of climbing including scale models of the nearby mountains and the fourth part is a 1916 trapper's cabin.

The town tends to be overshadowed by its brasher neighbor, Anchorage, but it remains a real Alaskan experience nonetheless with a friendly, authentic feel. Since its decline around World War I not much has been done for the revival of the town until some years ago when some fancy buildings started to rise. Still not far from the towns at Denali National Park, a major attraction, pack in visitors by the hundreds of thousands. Willy-nilly Talkeetna had to embrace tourism and visitors mostly coming here for the outdoors find a laid-back atmosphere and a town where they can feel completely at ease. A major part of the visitors are mountain climbers that come around May to July from all over the world giving the place an international feel. Historic sites are contained within several blocks and the best way to get a sense of the place is by walking around downtown without missing the ranger station and the mountain climbers' memorial at the town cemetery.

Highlights of the area include The Denali National Park. Talkeetna’s position is better than other town’s as on this side there are a lot of outdoors activities; Mount McKinley is seen more frequently - if you look south of town you can see its peak, the development is much more interesting and authentic, but it is more difficult to get into the park. This has never stopped climbers from coming to follow their dream in climbing 20,320-foot Mount McKinley, North America's highest mountain and the world's tallest mountain from base to peak. They usually have a flight to the mountain provided by one of air taxi companies operating out of the Talkeetna airport. They typically begin with a flight from here to the 7,200-foot level of the Kahiltna Glacier where they attempt to climb it. They don’t all succeed but it is worth the thrill.

For the ordinary tourist the outdoors offer a bountiful array of attractions and activities that can make your vacation happen, a unique experience anyone would be happy to have. There are different flight seeing trips offered by experienced operators depending on what you expect, what you like and your budget. You can have a simple one hour tour or a complete tour that circles the mountain and flies over its glaciers, you can choose to land on glaciers, fly with one of the glacier pilots who support Mount McKinley climbs and see the climbers below.

Whether you’re seeking fun, adrenaline, or tranquility you’ll find just what you’re looking for in Talkeetna.
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