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Healy or Talkeetna?

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Scottsville...
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Healy or Talkeetna?

What are the pros & cons of lodging in either Healy or Talkeetna?

Are Talkeetna views of McKinley worth staying the further distance from Denali Park (which we plan to tour by shuttle inbetween our overnight stays)?

18 replies to this topic
New England
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1. Re: Healy or Talkeetna?

If I understand you are thinking of staying in either of these places and traveling to Denali National Park for a shuttle bus into the park. Talkeetna is about a three hour drive from the park entrance and Healy is only 15-20 minutes from the park entrance. Although you have a "chance" of seeing the mountain from a spot on the road into Talkeetna it is never guaranteed as the mountain is not always visible due to weather. I personally would want to stay in Healy to be close enough to the park entrance to get an early shuttle and then stay in the park hiking as long as I wanted without having to think about a long drive to my lodgings in Talkeetna.

Anchorage, Alaska
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2. Re: Healy or Talkeetna?

Before being able to give a truly viable answer, most readers would want to know a little more about you and your trip. If it's simply in regarding Denali Nat'l PArk & visiting there, then bluewater has given you the facts.

Good luck on your AK adventure,

Scott

Scottsville...
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3. Re: Healy or Talkeetna?

Thankyou Blue Water & Scott: You have given me the simple answer I was seeking. I'll now concentrate my research on finding nice lodging in Healy. We are 3 senior couples travelling to Alaska for the first time. From Anchorage, we plan to drive our rental car N. to somewhere near Denali park, stay overnight, take the Eielson 8 hr. shuttle on June 3, stay overnight again likely in Healy, then return to the airport on June 4. Or we may decide to stay til June 5, so we have to make that decision before we book our flight. LOL

Can you suggest a good place for local halibut or salmon after our day in Denali?

fti
MN
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4. Re: Healy or Talkeetna?

Two nights in Healy or thereabouts is the minimum. Talkeetna is a nice lunch stop but nowhere near Denali National Park's facilities.

You are wise to book the shuttle to Eielson. You can always get off earlier if desired, but the area between Toklat and Eielson is prime bear habitat.

Cypress, Texas
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5. Re: Healy or Talkeetna?

Talkeetna is a wonderful town to visit or to stay in. Much superior to Healy in my opinion.

Talkeetna also offers great views of McKinley (weather permitting) as it is pretty close to the mountain as the crow flies. That's why the great majority of flight seeing tours take off from Talkeetna Airport.

Healy is right around the corner from the entrance to Denali Nat'l. Park, while it's a long (but scenic) drive from Talkeetna to the entrance.

Actual straight-line distances from both towns to the summit of McKinley...

Healy - 83 miles

Talkeetna - 58 miles.

Edited: 11:54 pm, January 28, 2012
Cypress, Texas
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6. Re: Healy or Talkeetna?

edhulleman, a tip for finding lodging is don't just look at the first listings that come up under "Hotels".

Typically you can find links to check out other options under "B&B and Inns" and

"Specialty Lodging".

For example, for some reason, my favorite place to stay in Talkeetna is listed under Specialty Lodging despite the fact that it's clearly a B&B...

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g31136-d1491720…

Adirondack, New York
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7. Re: Healy or Talkeetna?

With such a short stay you could also consider staying south of the entrance. Healy has some great lodging and is located north of the entrance. 229 restaurant often recommended by Coalminer is located south of the entrance.

Lake Tahoe...
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8. Re: Healy or Talkeetna?

You are not going to find local halibut at Denali as it is not a fresh water fish. If you are interested in a good view of the mountain, the Mt McKinley Princess Lodge offers that. Of course, only if the mountain is out. When it is, the view is fantastic. The property is at Mile 133 along the Parks Hwy north of the Talkeetna Spur Road junction.

Cypress, Texas
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9. Re: Healy or Talkeetna?

To expand on my answer to your question "Are Talkeetna views of McKinley worth staying the further distance from Denali Park?"...

The mountain is "out" (viable) about one day out of three on average and only fully clear about one day out of five. It's really the luck of the draw, but it would be a shame to have the clouds lift for a few hours only to catch you in a location where you can't see it. You can't see McKinley from Healy or even from the Denali National Park entrance, or even get a good view as far as you are allowed to drive on your own (15 miles) without a special permit that is drawn from a lottery.

1. On a really clear day you can actually see the mountain at 120 miles from the front doors of the airport in Anchorage, but don't count on it.

2. Earthquake Park in Anchorage on a clear day you’ll see Mt. Foraker (17,400 ft.) on the left and Mt. McKinley (20,320 ft.) on the right. Best viewing is in the evening.

3. Driving Through Willow on the Parks Highway you’ll start seeing brief glimpses of Mt. McKinley, looming up in the middle of the road, starting at Milepost 69.

4. As You Enter the Town of Talkeetna a hundred miles north of Anchorage, on the Parks Highway, you’ll come to a spur road that goes 14.5 miles back toward the old railroad town of Talkeetna. Although you’re still 124 miles from the entrance to Denali Park, the mountain is very close here (58 miles). On a clear day, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Foraker, and many other mountains and foothills of the Alaska Range are in full view. Stop at the hilltop pullout, just before you enter Talkeetna, to take a picture. Also in Talkeena a two minute walk to the river will give you a grand view. there are also great views from many of the lodges here, the two I'm personally familiar we are...

http://www.talkeetnalodge.com/

http://www.talkeetnadenaliviewlodge.com/

Talkeetna is headquarters for mountain climbing expeditions for McKinley and for flight seeing tours of the mountain, which is by far the best way to see it.

5. Trapper Creek & Petersville Road - When you leave Talkeetna, you’ll go back onto the Parks Highway. The next stop on the way north, at Milepost 115, is Trapper Creek. The views of Mt. McKinley from Trapper Creek and the Petersville Road, a former mining trail that skirts the southside of McKinley, are exceptional.

6. “Denali Viewpoint South” at Mile 135 on the Parks Highway in the Denali State Park. The views of the mountain from this state park are unparalleled. The Alaska State Park system has built pullouts with displays and telescopes pointed at the mountain. Several lodges also have excellent views.

7. “Denali Viewpoint North” at Mile 163 on Parks on the Parks Highway in Denali State Park. Again with displays. Notice that your perspective on the mountain is starting to shift. As you continue to travel farther north, from this point, Mt. McKinley will move further away to the south even though you’re headed toward the official park entrance.

8. The Pulloff at Mile 9 on the Park Road is the first chance to catch a glimpse of the mountain inside the park.

9. Mile 62 offers the first opportunity to see all of Mt. Denali, from the base to its summit.

10. Reflection Pond at Wonder Lake - Deep inside Denali National Park, at the end of a 6 hour, 85-mile bus ride, you’ll come to Wonder Lake and Reflection Pond. If it’s a good day, you’ll get a classic view of Mt. McKinley, reflected in the water. This the closest view you will get (without a flight seeing tour) at about 26 miles. It’s a one mile hike to the campground and this is a very wet area in the summer with headnets and repellant being recommended to warn off the hordes of mosquitoes.

11. The University Campus Overlook in Fairbanks - Finally, you can see the mountain from Fairbanks. Drive to the University of Alaska campus in Fairbanks and see Mt. McKinley from the university’s scenic overlook, near the university museum.

Edited: 5:10 pm, January 29, 2012
fti
MN
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10. Re: Healy or Talkeetna?

My impression is that you wanted more than just "views" of the Mountain - you also wanted access into Denali NP:

>>Are Talkeetna views of McKinley worth staying the further distance from Denali Park (which we plan to tour by shuttle inbetween our overnight stays)?

I just can't imagine staying in Talkeetna and driving 3 hours each way to access the shuttle bus. Seems like a waste of almost 6 hours that could be better spent inside the park.

And with all due respect, I don't use Trip Advisor at all to choose my hotels. Their reviews are way less than optimal (do a google search for "trip advisor hotel reviews" and add any word after that. You will see what I mean. Unless I drop off the very glowing and the very negative reviews, I can't trust them. And if I am throwing out those 1* and 5* reviews, what's the point anyway?!

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