Talkeetna, an Indian word meaning “river of plenty,” is located 113 miles North of Anchorage, on the Talkeetna Spur Road. This is the point where the Talkeetna and the Chulitna Rivers join the Susitna River.
Talkeetna was originally the site of a Tanaina Indian village. Miners began trading at this site and established the first trading post in 1896. A gold rush to the Susitna River brought prospectors to the area and by 1910, Talkeetna became a riverboat steamer station. In 1915, the town was designated as the home base for the Alaska Engineering Commission, the group who would build the Alaska Railroad. The community population rose to 1,000.
World War I and the completion of the railroad in 1919 dramatically decreased the population, which now registers at 363. Fifteen of Talkeetna’s 24 buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Talkeetna is also the take-off point for those attempting to climb the largest peak on North America, Mt. McKinley. The town itself is closer to the actual mountain than the entrance to Denali National Park. This allows many opportunities for flightseeing around the area and mountain.