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Talkeetna, Denali National Park, and Fairbanks

Travel Resources

Everything from vehicle rental to things to do along the drive. 

Know Before
You Go

If you're planning to visit Fairbanks, Denali National Park, or Talkeetna, there are a few things you should know before you go:

  1. During summer months hotels and campgrounds can fill up with visitors. Make reservations early. 

  2. The winters are long and very cold, with temperatures regularly dropping to well below freezing. Summer temperatures can be quite warm, with average highs in the 70s (Fahrenheit). Make sure you bring appropriate clothing and gear for the weather conditions.

  3. During the summer months, the region experiences nearly 24 hours of daylight, which can take some getting used to. Conversely, during the winter months, the sun rises late and sets early, with only a few hours of daylight each day.

  4. Outdoor activities: the area is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise, with plenty of opportunities for hiking, fishing, kayaking, and other activities. Make sure you bring appropriate gear for your planned activities, and be aware of potential wildlife encounters.

  5. Culture and history: there are plenty of museums and cultural attractions to explore. Look for information on Athabaskan culture in Fairbanks and Denali. 

  6. Transportation: There are a few small towns between the major cities, but the infrastructure is sparse. Plan ahead for fuel stops and expect to lose cell coverage as you travel through the wilderness.

Scenic Views

The George Parks Highway, also known as Alaska Route 3, is a scenic highway that runs from Palmer to Fairbanks, passing through some of Alaska's most breathtaking landscapes. Here are some of the best scenic views on the George Parks Highway:

  1. Denali State Park: The highway passes through Denali State Park, which offers incredible views of the Alaska Range and Mount Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley) on clear days. Look for pullouts and viewpoints along the highway for the best views.

  2. Byers Lake: This picturesque lake is located near milepost 147 and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests. There are several hiking trails in the area that offer even better views.

  3. Hurricane Gulch: Located about 80 miles north of Anchorage, Hurricane Gulch is a deep, steep-sided gorge with a bridge that crosses over it. The views of the valley and surrounding mountains from the bridge are stunning.

  4. Broad Pass: This mountain pass is located at an elevation of over 2,300 feet and offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and tundra. Look for pullouts and viewpoints along the highway to take it all in.

  5. Nenana River Canyon: This scenic canyon is located just south of the town of Nenana and offers incredible views of the Nenana River and surrounding mountains. There are several viewpoints and pullouts along the highway that offer excellent views of the canyon.

  6. Hills outside of Fairbanks offer stunning views over the Tanana Flats. 

Things To Do 

Talkeetna is a charming small town in Alaska that offers plenty of outdoor activities and sightseeing opportunities. Here are some things to do in Talkeetna:​

  1. Talkeetna Riverfront Park: Take a stroll along the Talkeetna River and enjoy the scenic views. This park also has picnic tables, a playground, and fishing access.

  2. Talkeetna Historical Society Museum: Learn about the history of Talkeetna at this small but informative museum. The museum has exhibits on the town's mining, railroad, and aviation history.

  3. Local breweries and distilleries: Talkeetna has a few local breweries and distilleries that are worth checking out. The Denali Brewing Company and the Talkeetna Distillery offer tours and tastings.

  4. Outdoor activities: Talkeetna offers plenty of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, river rafting, and horseback riding. You can also rent bicycles or kayaks to explore the area on your own.

  5. Northern Lights viewing: If you're visiting Talkeetna in the winter months, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. There are several tour companies that offer guided Northern Lights viewing tours.

  6. Nagley's Store: This historic store has been an institution in town since 1917. 

Things To Do 
Denali National Park

Denali National Park offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy, including:

  1. Wildlife Viewing: Denali National Park is home to a wide range of wildlife, including grizzly bears, moose, caribou, wolves, and Dall sheep. Visitors can take guided bus tours to see these animals in their natural habitats, or hike on designated trails to catch a glimpse of wildlife.

  2. Hiking: There are miles of hiking trails within Denali National Park, ranging from easy strolls to strenuous hikes. Some of the most popular hikes include the Savage River Loop, Horseshoe Lake Trail, and Mount Healy Overlook Trail.

  3. Camping: Denali National Park has several campgrounds for visitors to choose from, including front-country and backcountry sites. Reservations are recommended during peak season, and backcountry permits are required for certain areas.

  4. Bus Tours: Take a shuttle or tour on the one road that leads into the park. 

  5. Ranger-led Programs: Denali National Park offers a range of ranger-led programs, including guided hikes, wildlife talks, and demonstrations. These programs are a great way to learn more about the park's natural and cultural history. 

  6. Fishing: Denali National Park offers several opportunities for fishing, including catch-and-release fishing for grayling in some of the park's rivers and streams.

Overall, there is plenty to see and do in Denali National Park, and visitors are sure to leave with a deeper appreciation for the beauty and wildness of Alaska.

Things To Do 

Fairbanks, Alaska is known for its natural beauty and unique culture. Here are some of the things you can do in Fairbanks:

  1. Northern Lights Viewing: Fairbanks is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. The best time to see the lights is during the winter months, and there are several tours and viewing spots available.

  2. Visit the University of Alaska Fairbanks: The University of Alaska Fairbanks is home to several museums, including the UA Museum of the North, which features exhibits on the natural and cultural history of Alaska.

  3. Explore Pioneer Park: Pioneer Park is a historic village that offers a glimpse into Fairbanks' past. The park features several museums, including the Pioneer Air Museum and the Alaska Native Museum.

  4. Take a Riverboat Discovery Cruise: Riverboat Discovery Cruises offer visitors the chance to explore the Chena River and learn about the history and culture of Fairbanks. The cruise includes a stop at a recreated Athabascan Indian village, where visitors can see demonstrations of traditional activities like beading and dog mushing.

  5. Visit the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center: The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center is a great place to learn about Fairbanks' history and culture. The center features exhibits on the Alaska Native people, as well as on the region's natural history and geology.

  6. Soak in the Hot Springs: Fairbanks is home to several hot springs, including the Chena Hot Springs Resort. Visitors can relax in the hot springs pools, enjoy a spa treatment, or take a guided tour of the resort's ice museum.

  7. Attend a Cultural Event: Fairbanks has a vibrant arts and cultural scene, with several events and festivals throughout the year. The World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, held every summer, features traditional Alaska Native games and events.

Overall, Fairbanks offers a range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy, highlighting Alaska's unique culture and natural beauty.

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