Enjoy your first night in Anchorage at one of our downtown hotels, with several offering spectacular views of Cook Inlet and the Chugach mountains. After September 15, many of our hotels offer reduced rates throughout the autumn and winter. Downtown Anchorage has four 4-star hotel properties, all with fine dining options and comfortable accommodations. Indulge yourself without making a dent in your pocket book.
After a relaxing breakfast, take a two-hour drive north through the Matanuska Valley to the quaint community of Talkeetna. Talkeetna, which means “River of Plenty” in the local Dena’ina language, is nestled on the confluence three rivers. A short walk down Main Street to the riverbank will reward you with breathtaking views of Mt. McKinley and the surrounding Alaska Range. At over 20,320 feet, Mt. McKinley towers above the surrounding peaks. Flightseeing tours to Mt. McKinley are offered year-round from Talkeetna. The Sheldon Amphitheater, Ruth Glacier, and the Great Gorge will take your breath away. Some have described these flights as life-changing. Others come to Talkeetna in the fall for late-season silver salmon fishing. Guided fishing trips are available from Talkeetna up until September 30th. In the “off season,” weekend train service on the Alaska Railroad provides an alternative to driving.
Along with its stunning views, Talkeetna is known for its hospitality. Enjoy all the comforts of home and modern amenities in a private cabin in town or near the river at Susitna River Lodge. Private cabins are a great option for those seeking the service and amenities of a hotel, but in a scenic and intimate setting. Some properties offer kitchens and BBQ grills for those wishing to “dine in.”
Speaking of dining, Talkeetna has several great options to entice your palette. Open year-round, the Talkeetna Roadhouse has been serving breakfast and lunch to travelers and locals for over 75 years. Their baked goods are out of this world. For dinner, take a stroll over to the Twister Creek Restaurant for some birch glazed Alaskan halibut or beer-battered Alaskan cod. Twister Creek is owned by the award-winning Denali Brewing Company. The brewery is on-site and offers up to 10 beers on tap throughout the year.
After a night or two in Talkeetna, it is time to continue on your journey. Drive southeast to Palmer, in the heart of the Matanuska Valley. The surrounding 5,000 foot peaks of the Chugach and Talkeetna mountains tower above the city of Palmer. Hatcher Pass, a favorite local hiking destination, is just 12 miles from town. Visitors and locals alike enjoy the stunning mountain views from Hatcher Pass. Blueberries, crowberries, and cranberries are easily accessible for picking along the hillside when in season. Cranberries are usually ripe through late-September.
After a day of exploring the Matanuska Valley, it is time to wind down for the night. One of Southcentral Alaska’s best kept secrets is Knik River Lodge. Just 50 miles north of Anchorage, Knik River Lodge offers private cabins with deluxe bedding and modern touches like flat screen TVs. The restaurant onsite offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a unique setting. Nearby trails offer incredible views of the valley and Knik Glacier.