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I did this as a thru hike (30 miles) in 2.5 days in late September and loved it. As others have noted, there aren't many switchbacks and the trail mostly goes straight up and down hills so heavy rain made the trail somewhat treacherous. There were a few sections of rock gardens to hike through where I lost track of the trail and turned to the AllTrails map on my phone for navigation. Not many people out there as I saw 1 other hiker during my trip. The Northern half of this trail is more rugged and technical, which I really enjoyed. The miles are slower than other places I've hiked but the views were incredible. Because of the open tunrda, you are very safe from bears because of the good visibility and hiking / camping views of the Talkeetna and Denali ranges are stunning.

Tough hike, especially in mediocre weather, but the views were great! We got a late start after a long Friday at work and underestimated our pace, so took out early at Ermine Hill midday Sunday. We would enjoy this more with 3 1/2 days.
If you want similar views in a day hike, try the new Curry Ridge Trail accessed from the brand new Kesugi Ken Campground just 1/4 mile north of the South Denali Overlook.

hiking
2 months ago

We started from Byer’s Lake and hiked 12.5 miles to skinny lake on day 1 after getting a late start. Set up camp there and then hiked down Ermine trail to the highway the next morning for ~20 miles total.

First five miles from Byer’s Lake aren’t too bad; steady climbing and some muddy areas. Views become incredible once above the tree line and with decent visibility we were able to see the Alaska range clearly (although a few peaks remained obscured behind cloud cover).

Walking on the ridge itself is incredible and trail was dry minus a few marshy areas that are hard to avoid. Views of the mountains and the terrain of the hike itself make it well worth it.

backpacking
2 months ago

While I'm sure this hike is spectacular in June and July, in August it was brutal.

The first two days of our trip it rained buckets. The constant rain made for heavy packs and a significantly more challenging trail. More than once I found myself mid-shin-deep in mud. Up on the ridge we couldn't go more than 20 minutes without crossing a gushing stream or marsh. Despite our best efforts, we never exceeded a 1mi/hr pace.

It appears the people of AllTrails are smarter than my boyfriend and me, seeing as most of the reviews here are written in June or July. But if you're an intermediate backpacker thinking you can handle a little rain, please think twice about doing Kesugi in August. If you're still determined to go in August after reading this, please bring the best Gore-Tex rain gear you can find. Your lightweight, 3-year-old rain jacket will be soaked through after just a couple hours.

I'm embarrassed to say I got hypothermia at the end of day 2 from the constant wind and rain. Thankfully my boyfriend was there to set up our tent, pat me dry, feed me peanut butter, and boil water and put it into water bottles to warm me up. It was a close call.

That concludes my PSA. I hope this prevents some other poor, naive nature enthusiast like myself from doing the right hike at the wrong time.

The first bridge to go clockwise was out, so it seems I stayed right and took the hard way. very steep climb that just kept going. I could see the tors, but couldn't really get to them. It was beautiful, but I have now idea how long this was since everyone seems to say different numbers here. It took me 90 minutes coming down the hill from where I stopped and I was going at a pretty fast clip.

**This hike is NOT 2.1 miles**
If you want to see the rock stuff from the feature picture, you need to hike at least 4.5 miles out (we turned around because we didn't have the energy to go any farther). Read the sign when you get there: This is a 15 mile hike. Nevertheless, we did this in the rain and it was beautiful!

3 months ago

Excellent views of the volcanoes across Cook Inlet extraordinary Flora very picky as well

backpacking
3 months ago

Amazing hike! A bit tough through the Valley between the K’seugi and Curry’s ridges but totally worth it. Incredible views of Denali and surprisingly great weather the entire three days. Feel blessed to have completed this with my two teenage daughters and beautiful wife.

3 months ago

Took some family over on the ferry for the day and decided to do this hike in Seldovia. We (four adults and one preteen) took seven kiddos, eight and younger on the hike. (Their ages were 8, 7, 4, 2, 2, and two babies) The only ones exclusively carried were the four month old and six month old. All the others walked most, if not all of the way!
There were salmon berries and blueberries along the trail, which was maintained and in great condition. The trail winds through the forest with several small hills and opens out onto the beach with beautiful views and plenty of rocks and shells for the kids collections. There’s lots of roots in the trail, some boardwalks over marshy areas, and clearly someone taking care of the trail and cutting steps through fallen trees.
Trailhead is right near the elementary school and clearly marked signs if you follow to the end of Main Street.
It was a fantastic short hike with all our kiddos!

Originally went to do the 3 mile loop, but that was closed. Apparently it’s been closed for quite some time. We continued up from that point for about an hour and a half. It’s nice, but nothing amazing.

Hated the beginning and end but loved the middle. Both ends of the trail killed me but so worth it. I would definitely do the whole thing again!

hiking
3 months ago

https://www.strava.com/activities/1694472798

With clear weather this is possibly the most scenic trail in the world. Enjoy!

Magnificent trail! My three kids ages 8, 11 and 13, mother, dog, I had a wonderful time hiking this trail! Glorious views of Denali for the majority of the hike. We did it in a total of 5 hours at a VERY leisure pace with plenty of stops and stopping for lunch. A new favorite for sure!!!

on Otterbahn

3 months ago

Awesome trail!.....with a multitude of botanical wonders!

Amazing hike. Fingers crossed you don't have fog the whole time.

backpacking
4 months ago

Awesome hike! I did this in 2 days but it would be great to spend several extra days on the ridge exploring. There are some steep parts but very doable even for those not in great shape. Several boggy areas but all are easy to go around or through on well placed rocks or board walks. Great variety in the terrain and views, it was never boring. I did see a family of black bears near the trail, marmots, moose and tons of ground squirrels. Definitely the best way to see Denali. Be careful on a clear hot day the sun is brutal even with sunscreen. There are plenty of snow melt streams for water, near the end there are lakes. Do not forget the bug dope, there are lots of mosquitoes in some parts. There are 3 pit latrines along the route. Little Coal Creek trailhead is just a parking lot/outhouse/trailhead off the highway - hidden from the road. Byers Lake is a pretty big campground.

Awesome trail!!! I was lucky it was so clear, there are phenomenal views from the top of this trail, I can’t believe this doesn’t have a higher rating! It is stunning, a little bit steep in some spots but easier than Mt. Healy and the views are ridiculous for only a short hike!

Beautiful day and beautiful hike! Lovely view of Denali and Foraker. Highly recommend this hike for anyone and everyone. Pretty mild hike until the top, where it gets pretty strenuous. Pretty great day hike, with the option to make it overnight.

Was blessed with great viewscape weather for the undulating hike. Just visiting for the 4th so no clue of what to expect. Breeze kept most of the bugs away. I was not sure which spur went to the top, so I took the first steep drain trail up to the marmot rocks and then scimed along the gusty Ridgeline to hit all the peaks. I bushwacked
down to find the main trail back. Lots of mud on the northeast side of the first crest. Outstanding 360 panorama including Brooks range and sweet dreams of ANWR.

It’s a wonderful hike with a good trail! The lower area can be muddy though, so bring better shoes. No snow in the higher elevations anymore

Did the full 15 miles (27km) in one day. Totally worth it, the view with the granite tors is spectacular! :) Hikes it clockwise which was a good idea, that way the steepest section of the trail will be downhill.

hiking
4 months ago

Took the wife and kiddo for this challenging yet beautiful trail. Did not plan for a 15 miler in one day but it was certainly worth it. We went up the west loop and back down the east loop and it took around 8 hours. Other than the mosquitoes and swampy areas it was a great hike with a wide variety of terrain. I suggest leaving early and bringing plenty of mosquito repellent and water. Enjoy your hike.

Good times. We only went about 2 miles up the trail. The snow was waist deep. Bring your SNOWSHOES! :-)

Did all 15 miles in one day! Great hike, challenging at points

This was my first hiking trip since moving to AK this year. I had 2 large dogs with me (a Mal and a GSD), and we hiked the short loop up to the point the loop is closed and we had to turn onto the East side of the long loop trail. It wasn’t as clearly marked as I’d have liked, so we turned back and went the entire West side of the long loop trail. It was beautiful, but the ascent/descent on such narrow and rough trails isn’t for the inexperienced hiker. Overall, it was a beautiful day, and we will definitely be going back regularly to explore further.

Such a great trail. Beautiful views. Not steep at all. Plenty water available. Didn’t see bears but the dogs almost got into a porcupine! Yikes!

Moderate pace to the top doable in under 1.5hrs. Recommend wearing boots due to the muddy areas especially in lower elevation.

Saw a bear and some bald eagles. Views were beautiful especially up near the lake.

Gosh what a great trail. super pleasant walking. not much elevation rewuired. and so many changes in scenery. lush forest with creepy shaped trees, straw meadows, expanse, imposing Mountains. this trail has everything one could ask for on a hike. I wished it never ended and I was still on it instead of writing about it. there's a squirrel in the trail. a little beautiful squirrel that looks at you funny when you pass by.

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