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Beautiful hike in the Fall! Great trail that takes you by lakes, a stream a boulder field at the end. Well maintained and traveled.

Not bad. Easy trail.

All the stairs got me a little winded. After that though, it's like a choose your own adventure, scrambling up all the rock. Definitely flat at the top, hence the name. Went on a beautiful bluebird day and got views of everything from Iliamna to Denali. (of course, you can get that from the parking lot too... :P) Sept 8, 2018. Took me about an hour and a half to get from parking lot to the top, including breaks.

It was a fun scramble at the top but too many people. 1 hour and 15 minutes total up and back.

I don't think I would necessarily classify this hike as 'hard' but I also did it on an absolutely perfect day in terms of weather conditions. It would certainly be more challenging in poor weather or with small children.
Very busy trail but that was also probably increased due to the great weather and time I went (late afternoon on a Saturday).

Views were spectacular. I went on such a clear day that you could see all the way over to turnagain arm and all the way out to Denali. At the peak make sure to look below you into the rim of the valleys, I saw like 10 mountain goats. Saw two moose as well, right smack dab in the middle of the trail-so we had to wait a bit. Also, keep an eye out for the leftover plane wreckage on the right of the trail. But anyway- it was spectacular and I highly recommend ESPECIALLY on a clear day- you can see everything!

made it 2/3 of the way with old dogs, it was raining, and we were concerned with wet boulders for the rest of the way up. but it's gorgeous at where we stopped

hiking
12 days ago

Well, it’s as long and as hard as others describe. There are three sections, beginning with some dense foliage and thick roots, transitioning to low shrub and thick roots, and ending in rock scrabble. It’s a steady uphill climb to the summit; not many level areas to stop and admire the view. However, when you do reach the few stops en route, the vistas are spectacular. The summit provides an amazing view up two valleys, each with beautiful alpine lakes and mountain streams. Oh, and we saw a moose on the way down.

Not easy
But fantastic views

We didn't make it to the very top, but we got pretty close. We caught a ride with the bike shop downtown (Flattop Mountain Shuttle they were great, 5 stars for them too!) and had to turn around early enough to catch a ride back. Hard trail but fun, we'll have to try it next time we're in Alaska. Be sure to have your mountain goat shoes on!

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.

Difficult hike especially with a bunch of snow but wonderful view from the top!

trail running
16 days ago

Great way to spend a couple hours on the trail and avoid the crowds of Flat Top and Powerline. Absolutely gorgeous day, and only a hand full of folks other than myself. Some lucky hikers got to see a pack of wolves up in the bowl when they crossed over the trail, but I missed them by a few minutes. I came in via the Prospect Heights trailhead, which came up close to 5 miles one way according to the GPS. Nice steady uphill the entire way. Nothing ever really super steep, just consistent. I’d rate this as moderate difficulty for that reason, not hard. If you take some of the less traveled trails, there’s plenty of roots and mud to contend with, but it’s just all the more enjoyable than taking the heavily trafficked and maintained ones. Haven’t been up here in years, but just as fun as I remembered it being.

We made it to the second lake starting from the Denali Village. Didn't have a ton of time to hike, but beautiful views and easy to follow trail. If you have a little time to spend, this is well worth it!

Fairly steep and rocky at points, need hands to steady but not support yourself. Very windy up top with great views

Fairly steep, well kept path, no need to use hands. In late August there was snow at the top but it was fairly warm down by the river.

hiking
18 days 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.

It’s was great right up until the end. I went during the time of year that snow was melting and it was slippery up there. Still got an AMAZING view of the city near the end.

hiking
19 days ago

Hiked this trail on 8/23 starting at the Mountain vista parking lot and finishing at Savage River. Beautiful views and lots of wild blueberries on the way up. As others have mentioned, make sure you have layers because it’s really cold and windy on the ridge.

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.

Hikers in the mist. Wet, cloudy, and slippery conditions. Upper 1/3 is challenging but on a clear day would be very worth it.

hiking
22 days ago

Hard but so worth it! This was amazing.

hiking
23 days ago

This was a fun hike. I'm afraid of falling, so not only did the hike down take twice as long as the hike up, but most of the first part of the descent was done on my bum. The climb on the last part wasn't well marked. Fabulous views.

What an absolutely incredible trail. If you are in Denali and, like me, unenthused about sitting on a bus for several hours to explore the park - take the bus. Trust me. Take the bus out to Eielson Visitor Center and do this hike. We managed to hit it on a crystal blue sky day and the views were unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The hike is steep and strenuous, but you won’t even care because with each step the view gets better and better. Go to the very top for the full panoramic viewing experience.

hiking
25 days ago

just hiked this trail. fairly steep but not too bad. finished in a couple hours

What a fun trail! That last bit up to the top was an absolute blast, but it’s no joke - we definitely had to use our hands and coming back down was even trickier. Just be careful and take it slow! We did this trail on a rainy, foggy day - I don’t really recommend this, as the trail isn’t very well marked near the top and those rocks are challenging enough without the rain. But it did mean that we had almost the whole trail to ourselves, and the fog made it eerie and moody and beautiful. Even though we didn’t get the views, it was like we were on another planet with all that fog enveloping the mountain. Gorgeous! Keep an eye out for the orange paint markers on the boulders to help you find your way. Our legs were shaking by the end of the hike and it was absolutely worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

Great views of Eagle and Symphony lakes. There are about 3 campsites down towards Eagle lake and 3 or 4 more down near Symphony lake. You cannot camp in or near the shelter because of terrain. There is one tree for shade in the area. If camping there in the summer, bring your own shade. The rock scramble easily adds a few miles worth of effort to the hike.

Nice simple hike. Bring shoes you can get wet if you want to reach the falls

Easy and quick family friendly hike. Definitely recommend this one.

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