Nearby towns, Denali National Park and Preserve
When travelling from Anchorage to Denali National Park, you should stop and check out the rustic town of Talkeetna. This town is the launching base of climbs up Mount McKinley as well as bush flights to view the Alaskan Range. More information and photos are at my VT Talkeetna page.
There are few provisions available inside Denali National Park, however towns on both the north and south sides of the park offer a few shops and services. The largest of these towns, with 1000 permanent residents, is Healy. It is a few miles north of the park entrance, along the George Parks Highway. Here you will find motels, restaurants, stores, garages, etc.
Several miles south of the entrance, off the main highway but bordering the park, is the even smaller town of Cantwell, Population 222. I saw only one store in Cantwell, but it included a restaurant, service station and laundramat. I have stopped here for lunch twice on different trips to Denali. The food is only so-so, but it's a good place to absorb a little local Alaska flavor.
Bed and Breakfast accomodations are also available in Cantwell.
Below you will find links to both of these towns.
Talkeetna is a small, out-of-the-way village on the Parks Highway about 130 miles south of Denali's entrance. Nonetheless, its primary business (besides local tourism) is deeply associated with the great park far to the north (Denali itself can be seen from town on clear days). Flightseeing, whitewater river rafting, air taxis, glacier travel and other Denali-related activities are all available from this sleepy, quiet out-of-the-way hub.
The town of Nenana is located on the journey from Anchorage to Denali National Park. The most famous thing about this town is the annual river ice-melting contest. During winter, a big tripod is placed on top of the ice on the Nenana River. The contest is to guess when the ice will break in springtime and drop the tripod into the river. The person witht the closest guess will be the winner !
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