Explore the most popular walking trails in Denali State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
4 months ago

Great little year round hike. Did it in Jan, -20s temps. The lake is frozen in the winter and you can walk on parts of it. Most stunning is the opening along the Nenana River—bright water against the snow covered banks and mountain views.

Beautiful hike!! SO worth the drive:)

snowshoeing
5 months ago

we had to park at the entrance because the campground area is closed in winter; this just meant we had more beautiful Lake views. you can follow the road in or hike/snowshoe around the lake to get to the ridge trail which takes you up to kesugi ridge. gorgeous hike with stunning views of denali and the alaska range once you're hiking up to the ridge. it is full of gentle switchbacks which allowed for more views and avoided icy decents. we did not take poles because it was too cold to be holding poles. well woth the stop

backpacking
7 months ago

Great views when it’s clear out. Either way it’s gorgeous. Started off going downhill then turned into an incline with lots of switchbacks, got easier towards the end. Some interesting rock formations too. Absolutely beautiful and totally worth it. Saw lots of bear so be prepared. Went during fall and it was perfect for blueberry picking. Would highly recommend!

9/16/2017. Sunny and 45deg- tiny bit of rain. Clouds over most of Denali which was a bummer, but still one of the most beautiful valley views I've seen. First half was really mucky. Last mile or so was the only tough part - steep and rocky but not too difficult. The whole way was really well worn and clear trail. Overall a really great day hike. A little under 4hrs round trip with a stop for lunch. Stopped when we got to a big screw field and didn't think it was worth pushing through that - 3.3mi from trailhead.

backpacking
8 months ago

You GOTTA get on the ridge and see the rock formations at the junction. September overnight trip from ermine to skinny lake. Gorgeous.

It's an easy hike. Fun for kids. Lots of beaver dams and squirrels along the trail. Lake is unbelievably clear. Suggest doing it if you have the time on your trip to Alaska!

Awesome variation of scenery. A bit windy when on the ridge and no place for a hammock. But second half of trail is wooded and great. Plenty of streams to get water from.

Nice moderate trail -- not too strenuous, and we even took the root ladder up. Nice views, think it would be super spectacular on a day when Denali is out!

hiking
9 months ago

Awesome hike, lots of beavers at lake 1.

8/8/17-We hiked this trail to the falls & up the side of the falls to the ridge line and down to Byers lake.. camped overnight, woke up @ 5am to finish our hike around the lake & ran into 2 black bear cubs where the trail gets overgrown, right before the bridge... although we didn't have a problem.. be aware bears are there!.. awesome falls & hike!!!

hiking
9 months ago

We completed this trail past the falls up to the ridge line and then added the other trail around Beyers Lake to get us close to 9-miles or so. The cascade trail along the ridge gets fairly exposed and on the day we were there - no views of Mt. Denali, although I could imagine the view would be great on a clear day., On the way up and around Beyers lake the vegetation on the side of the trail is very thick, so be Bear Aware.

Extremely easy loop, not much to it. The lake is gorgeous and the occasional beaver may peek it's way out from its dam.

I recommend combining this hike with a few of the others in the area; like the roadside or maybe even MT Healy.

Very long, but rather simple hike. The trail is easy to follow with many clearings which open up to the vast mountains surrounding you.
I recommend starting from the lake end (village end) Its more scenic this way and the last several miles will be toward the decline which will feel good after walking the 7 miles beforehand.
If your going to do this hike you really should take the paths to the individual lakes, otherwise you won't get as good as a view.

One thing, I expected the lakes to be larger, maybe it's just me but I can't help but compare the three lakes to three ponds. All in all, it's was still a very scenic hike with views galore.

hiking
10 months ago

Not a difficult hike, just a long one. If you're starting from the visitor center, you won't see much until mile 7 or 8. There's an incline, as well, for a few miles but it's gradual and very doable. Not a ton of foot traffic on the trail, so you pretty much have the trail to yourself. If you're doing it one-way, you can grab the free shuttle to go back to the visitor center.

hiking
10 months ago

Easy trail with very nice views of the Nenana.

Awesome hike. Amazing view of the Mount Denali

backpacking
10 months ago

We hiked from north to south coming out at Byers Lake for 4 days & 3 nights. We didn't get a good view of Denali, but luckily we had seen it the day before from Denali Park.

We began the trail at the Little Coal Creek trailhead. I was with my son's BSA High Adventure Crew from Federal Way, Wa. The hike up was a little steep, trail was in good condition. You walk over roots, rocks, mud and the trail is bushy till you get up above the tree line. We hiked in good weather 7 miles and setup camp on the tundra (following LNT). The trail on the ridge is very rocky.

Day 2 we hiked 10 miles which was difficult with the very steep downhill and then a moderate, but long, uphill to get back on the ridge. We camped above Skinny Lake. There was a Black Bear in the area.

Day 3 we did 7 miles and camped near Mini-skinny Lake on the tundra. Was a pretty hot day of hiking, not much air flow but very beautiful.

Day 4 we woke up and hiked out to the Byers Lake trailhead. Was a great hike.

great scenic hike. went after a good rain. everything was so green and wet. Loved it. I agree with the previous comment. Hard only in terms of length.

We did this trail in 3 days, 2 nights. We had gorgeous views of Mt. McKinley all 3 days! The second day was pretty tough for me, but got easier-flatter-later in the day. (I'm 52 and in OK shape). My son (26) had little difficulty, but for sure a long, beautiful hike. We were both beat when we finished.

Lots of water and soft tundra for camping.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful views. Worth doing

This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. We started at Little Cole Creek Trailhead around 9pm the night of July 4th, after traveling all day from SoCal. It took about 3 hours to make it to the top via a trail that seemed to just get steeper and steeper. Once we made it to the top we had amazing views of Mt. Danali and the sun setting behind the mountain. We camped out on the tundra with the sound of a river in the background. Luckily it never gets dark this time of year, so it was easy to setup our camp right around midnight.

The next day we made it to 10.8 mile lake during another day of amazing weather. The day started out with a steep climb up what I would describe as a "boulder field" and then leveled off for a few miles on the ridge. After that things got a bit harder with some ups and downs. Camping at 10.8 mile lake was just awesome.

The 3rd day was the hardest by far as we journeyed on to Skinny Lake. There were a couple of parts that were "straight down" followed by "straight up". Skinny Lake made it all worthwhile as the views were simply amazing. We got our first dose of rain during our night at Skinny Lake, but we were lucky to avoid any during the time we were hiking.

Day 4 got us to the ridge just before the trail heads down to Bayer's Lake where we camped near one of the many lakes on the trail. The views of Mt Danali were just out of this world at this spot. Getting to this spot was not easy as the trail heading out of Skinny Lake just seems to go up up up. By the time we made it to the summit I was totally exhausted, but things got easier from there.

On our 5th day we got up early and made a run for Bayer's Lake before the forecasted rains came. As luck would have it, the first raindrops started to fall just as we made it to our car.

A few comments about this trail:

1. I think it's mismarked as Moderate and should be Hard, but doable. This was the first time I've done anything like this and it was a mental challenge for sure.

2. Be prepared for anything. From 20-30 degree weather changes in minutes to bears, you need to be prepared. We were blessed with pretty amazing weather and circumstances, but for sure you need to be ready for anything. There is little to no cell service and very few people up there. You are on your own.

3. While we could have done this faster, I'm very happy we didn't. There is so much to see and take in up on this trail. I don't know why people turn this into a sprint. If we could have spent 1-2 more days on the ridge, I gladly would have.

4. You are never far from a water source. I think the longest we ever went without a water source was 3 miles, but most water sources were much closer than that.

5. Protect your feet. I'm glad I taped my feet each day to prevent blisters. The trail is seldom flat. Lots of ups, downs, and rocks can add up over 30+ miles.

great warm up hike. beautiful setting. watched a muskrat having breakfast and a collared pika.

Saw one mama moose and her two twin babies. Very easy and I took my time overall an hour long. The shuttle buses are on time :)

I'd rate this as hard only because of length, takes a good chunk of time to get to the end, but the trail is well maintained and not too hard. Bring a little cash to get the shuttle back, or be prepared to hitchhike.

hiking
11 months ago

Nice little hike. Saw moose and her two baby calves.

hiking
11 months ago

Great little trail if you are short on time like us. Saw 5 beavers and heard a bull moose call.

hiking
11 months ago

hiked from visitor's center to Denali lodge on a clear day. Breathtaking views. 9.5 miles not too difficult with nice switchbacks. Very well maintained.

hiking
11 months ago

A moderate trail. Some good sized up hills on the way back. Pretty view of some lakes. Pretty crowded place.

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