Situated on the
way to Denali National Park, 114 miles north of Anchorage, on a side road from
This is a small
town with population of less than 1000 people. The local story is that this
town was the inspiration for the Cicely Alaska in “Northern Exposure” popular
The town has a
great view of Mt. Denali and the mountain ridge (if you are at the right time
with good cloud-free visibility). On our way north it was all cloudy and rainy so
there was not any view.
the probably the best places to get a plane ride to explore mount Denali and the
nearby glaciers, you can find few companies that offer such flights.
At town, you
can visit the Mountaineering Ranger Station, Talkeetna Historical Society
Museum or hike at the nearby lakes and river front parks.
There are many
fishing and other outdoor activities options (include river rafting and
zipline) at this colorful small town and the visit here is recommended.
Coming late at
the day we did not find anywhere to sleep at Talkeetna so we decided to keep
driving without getting into town (that is on a side road and not on the main
hwy 3), with that change we manage to arrive early to Denali the following day.
Along hwy 3
there are 2 good locations to stop on your way and enjoy the Denali ridge view.
Viewpoint South, 136 miles north of Anchorage.
North, 164 miles north of Anchorage.
When we went up
north the weather was cold and cloudy, so we did not had any view but when we
went back south 3 days later the sky were clear and we saw the amazing Denali
mountain towering above the surrounding mountain range from both viewing
Hurricane Gulch Bridge:
Great place for
a short stop to stretch your legs and check out the deep gorge view below the
parking lot on the south side of the bridge and nice viewing point over there. Pedestrian
crossing are not allowed at all on the narrow bridge, be careful this is a busy
Broad pass Alaska
Broad Pass is
located about 203 miles north of Anchorage. This is relatively interesting
landscape with flat surrounding, “small” forest trees, narrow lakes and the
views of Denali. The area is known for the abundance of blueberries and their
easy accessibility that attract Moose and Caribou.
Denali Highway (Alaska Route 8):
is 135 miles in length, that leads from Cantwell on hwy 3 to Paxson on hwy 1. Opened
in 1957, it was the first road access to Denali National Park (from highway 1).
We did not
drive this road so descriptions below was gathered from few sources.
It starts with
a paved section but after few miles it change to a well-maintained gravel road,
rain can transform it to muddy with driving difficulties.
If you are
planning to use it with your rented RV (“cut” from Valdez to Denali without the
need to reach Fairbanks) please make sure that your RV insurance cover this
road (probably not !). For RV I will recommend taking the longer “official”
paved road through Fairbanks.
Not sure this
is recommended road for all but looks like it doable for any car (we did not try
to use it).
This is relatively
lightly traveled road without any service or cell reception along the way, you
will be on your own and if you will get stack (flat tire, stack in the mud or
engine problem) help can be slow and expensive.
Because much of
the route lies at the open tundra so the vista is fully open. Miles of rolling
tundra punctuated by shallow lakes in between with snow cap mountain ridge and
wide river drainages.
The road climbs
some foothills of the central Alaska Range and along its length you will passes
through three of the main Interior Alaska river drainages: The Copper River,
Tanana/Yukon and Susitna drainage. In good weather, there are stunning views of
the peaks and glaciers of the central Alaska Range.
You can drive
the highway in a day, but it is highly recommended at least one overnight, there
are four lodges operated along the highway.