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Introducing Talkeetna

At Mile 98.7, a side road heads north to this interesting town. It was a miners supply center in 1901, and later a riverboat station and a railroad-construction headquarters. Since the 1950s, Mt McKinley mountaineers have made Talkeetna their staging post, and today the town is the most interesting along the George Parks Hwy by far. The Talkeetna/Denali Visitors Center (907-733-2688, 800-660-2688; www.talkeetnadenali.com; George Parks Hwy; 7am-8pm) has information about the area.

The Mountaineering Ranger Station (907-733-2231; cnr 1st & B Sts; 8am-6pm) handles expeditions to Mt McKinley and has displays that will interest even those who have no desire to stand on North America’s highest peak. The four restored buildings of the Talkeetna Historical Society Museum (907-733-2487; admission $3; 10am-5:30pm) are a block south of Main St and house exhibits on bush pilots and McKinley climbs.

For scenic flights to view Mt McKinley ($170 to $250), check out Hudson Air Service (907-733-2321, 800-478-2321; www.hudsonair.com) or K2 Aviation (907-733-2291, 800-764-2291; www.flyk2.com). If the day is clear, be prepared for a long wait, made worth it by an unforgettable flight.