A Winter Break in Talkeetna, Alaska

by Henry Allen

Remember the TV show, “Northern Exposure?” If any place was the brain child of the town in that show it was Talkeetna. Conveniently located just off the Parks Highway that runs between Anchorage and Fairbanks, and a stop on the Alaska Railroad, Talkeetna is too easy to access to not visit it at least once in your life. What’s there? Lots of quirkiness, a bit of grit, welcoming Talkeetnans and the spectacular Alaska outdoors. 

Fun Fact: Up until 2017, Talkeetna’s elected mayor was Stubbs the cat. Only at his death was he replaced by a human. 

In winter, when Talkeetna is blanketed in snow, it’s particularly enticing. Downtown, Main Street is where it’s at. Begin at the “Welcome to Beautiful Downtown Talkeetna” sign and walk the few blocks to where it meets the river. Browse the collection of shops, pick up a souvenir or two, and head to one of the eateries or bakeries, as suits your fancy, for a refreshment. 

Now that you’ve seen the town, don’t be fooled. Talkeetna is a gateway to adventures as big as Alaska itself. Plan to spend at least one night in Talkeetna to make time for a guided outdoor experience. Talkeetna is brimming with outdoor tour guides, so choosing your adventure might be the toughest decision you have to make. Activities include Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, fat tire biking, ice fishing and even winter ziplining. 

In Talkeetna, you can choose to stay at the cozy Talkeetna Road House for a big dose of local color and amazing hospitality, go for a full-scale hotel at Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge (a few miles out of town, daytime shuttle to town provided), or choose any number of small guesthouses and inns in the Talkeetna area. 

To get to Talkeetna, fly into Anchorage. Talkeetna is about 115 miles north. If you rent a vehicle, the well-maintained Parks Highway will be your route. If you take the Alaska Railroad, you’ll take the Aurora Winter Train from Anchorage, which stops in Talkeetna. Alaska Railroad offers some fun travel packages to Talkeetna, such as a Pie Making package (Talkeetna Road House is famous for their pies, and you will learn their secrets) and a Talkeetna Getaway package, which includes an outdoor adventure. 

Plan your Talkeetna winter getaway at talkeetnachamber.org.