Denali State Park Parks & Trails

Denali State Park serves up tons of great hiking trails. At the heart of the park lies the renowned Kesugi Ridge backpacking trail, with four distinct trails—Lower Troublesome, Upper Troublesome, Ermine Hill, and Little Coal Creek—leading you there. For those seeking a newer route, try the Curry Ridge Trail, a moderate hike that takes you some 1,100 feet above sea level and treats you to views of Mt. Denali on a clear day.

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Parks & Trails

Difficulty: Difficult

Dur­ing peri­ods of clear weath­er, this route through Denali State Park offers sim­i­lar ter­rain and scenery to Denali Nation­al Park — includ­ing unpar­al­leled views of Denali — with­out the cum­ber­some per­mit­ting process. This trail sys­tem offers many options for start­ing and end­ing points, as there are four trail­heads along its length. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 7 miles Elevation Gain: 1100 feet

The Cur­ry Ridge Trail is a new­ly con­struct­ed trail (2016) that departs from the Kesu­gi K’en Camp­ground and climbs mod­er­ate­ly (1100 ft in about 3.5 miles) up Cur­ry Ridge. On a clear day, hik­ers are reward­ed with stun­ning views of Mt. Denali in the distance.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

This is one of four trails that lead to the high Kesu­gi Ridge along the Parks High­way about an hour north of Tal­keet­na. The trail begins in a forest­ed area and ends up above the tree line look­ing down on muli­ple drainages. The view at the top is won­der­ful, so bring a cam­era! It takes about 2 hours on aver­age to get above treeline. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 5 miles

This is one of four trails that lead to Kesu­gi Ridge. From the Denali State Park camp­ground at Byers Lake, this gen­tle stroll is the per­fect way to spend a few hours. Wan­der through spruce and birch trees on the north side of the lake and enjoy big views of the Alas­ka Range and Denali (for­mer­ly Mt. McKin­ley) from the east side. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

This trail is the north­ern­most trail that pro­vides access to Kesu­gi Ridge. On a clear day, Lit­tle Coal Creek Trail takes you to amaz­ing views of Denali (Mt. McKin­ley). It also gives you those views in the short­est amount of time, about 1.5 hours, of any of the access trails to Kesu­gi Ridge.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 4 miles

This is the south­ern­most trail that leads to Kesu­gi Ridge. On aver­age, it takes a hik­er 4 hours to get above the tree­line. This trail is often closed due to flood­ing as well as bear activ­i­ty for the safe­ty of its hik­ers. Please check with Alaska’s Depart­ment of Nat­ur­al Resources to make sure that the trail is open to hik­ers before start­ing this trip.

Difficulty: Easy

This trail fol­lows Trou­ble­some Creek .3 miles down to where it enters the broad, glacial grav­el bar of the Chuli­tan Riv­er. Mar­vel at the Ent-like Grandad­dy Cot­ton­wood, just five min­utes down the trail. The trail’s end has been swept away by floods, so it can be con­fus­ing, but the adven­tur­ous can keep going onto the Chulit­na’s grav­el bar to look for wildlife, tracks, or views of Denali. The large-leaved plants along the trail are Cow Parsnip and  ...more

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