Kesugi Ridge (Curry Ridge) Trail

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(75)
Denali State Park

Kesugi Ridge (Curry Ridge) Trail is a 29.2 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Trapper Creek, Alaska that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 29.2 miles Elevation Gain: 5,990 feet Route Type: Point to Point

dog friendly




nature trips

bird watching





wild flowers





The Kesugi Ridge Trail, an easy-to-navigate route just outside Denali National Park. Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful trails in America. Incredible views of the Alaska Range (Denali) and Talkeetna Range.

9 months ago

10 months ago

Went in from Ermine hill and did the second half. Denali was out of sight due to clouds but we did get good views of open tundra. The trail conditions are pretty lousy and you have to follow cairns for much of the northern half. Views without Denali are still ok. Some occasional scrambling might be necessary. Doing this after it rains will give you a nightmare.

Sat Oct 27 2018

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.

Wed Sep 05 2018

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.

Sat Sep 01 2018

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.

Wed Aug 29 2018

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.

Wed Aug 01 2018

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.

Wed Jul 25 2018

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!

Fri Jul 20 2018

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

Sat Jul 14 2018

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

Thu Jul 12 2018

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.

Fri Sep 15 2017

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.

Mon Aug 28 2017

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.

Thu Jul 27 2017

This is one of the best hikes I've ever done. We got to camp starring straight at Denali and since there's barely any nightime in late July we got to look at Denali for hours. The hike itself is moderate, nothing complicated. There are bears up there so being careful about food management is def. recommended. I can't stress enough how incredible it was to wake up facing Mt Denali and have breakfast across it. Would recommend for sure

Sat Jul 15 2017

Awesome hike. Amazing view of the Mount Denali

Thu Jul 13 2017

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.

Sun Jul 09 2017

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.

Wed Jul 05 2017

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.

Wed May 31 2017

Did this last July. Had a great time until we got to what we thought was Long lake. The sign was not clear and tipped over and we ended up on the Ermine Hill trail. Way too many bears in a fairly unkept trail for my taste.

Sun May 14 2017

3 days and 2 nights with best group of girl friends a girl could ask for! It's tough, but worth it.

Thu Apr 20 2017

My son and I did this as a 4 day trip last summer and it was AMAZING!!! I will definitely be back!

Tue Mar 07 2017

Amazing trail, so beautiful!

Sun Jul 31 2016

Hiked north Kesugi ridge line with my 11yr old daughter July 16th. It was sunny and hot. Can't say enough about the trail or hike.

Thu Jul 07 2016

Absolutely breathtaking views while providing a good degree of difficulty. This trail is demanding with lots of elevation change and was tough on the knees. My group did this hike in about 2 1/2 days and it was amazing. We didn't see many people out there, but the view of Denali from the ridge was one of the best I've ever seen. Highly recommended and it's highly rated for a reason, but go prepared.

Thu Apr 03 2014

Numerous travel magazines rate this trail as one of the best in the world, and the hype is easily justified. This is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Instead of competing to secure a permit at Denali National Park, my friend and I decided to check out Denali STATE Park and we were not disappointed. You have the incredible view of the Denali / Alaskan Range throughout the trail, and the vast expansiveness of Talkeetna Range on the otherside off of the Kesugi is awe-inspiring also. Kesugi Ridge Trails starts from Little Coal Creek Trailhead at Mile 163.9 on Parks Highway and ends at Byers Lake for the total of 27.4 miles. The trail extends further down to Troublesome Creek, but as of July 2013, that section was closed from heavy flooding damages. You can complete the trail is as little as 2 days, but I suggest you take at least 4 days in order to truly appreciate the sights. Enjoy the blueberries but watch out for bears. Had numerous sightings, and on one close call. A bear spray is an absolute-must for this hike and it is sold in practically any and every Alaskan store.

Sun Sep 15 2013

Amazing views. Obviously the hike of a lifetime. Our group did not complete the whole 37 miles but did a large portion of it in 4 days. Only 30% of people who travel to Alaska ever get to see Mt. McKinley or Mt. Denali as the Alaskans call it. Rated in the top trails by Backpacker Magazine.

Wed May 01 2013

When I was 12 years old, my dad took myself and my two brothers on this hike, joined by many other youths from our local church. It was intended to be a bonding trip of four or five days. Day 1 was a blissful, steady climb to the ridge. Clear skies, lush wilderness, and at the peak, a premium view of Denali, crowned by a slurry of clouds. It may as well have been springtime. We set up camp, and bid goodnight to our party. It was the last time I would speak to many of them. Night crept over the titans of the Alaska Range, and slumber came only to be ripped away like our tent poles in the storm of a century. Rain thundered against our fragile tent walls with the force of a thousand crashing waves. Bone-chilling night wind whipped around us in all directions, and I cried and prayed for morning to come. It did, eventually, and we found no trace of our party. My brothers and I did the reasonable thing and deduced that they had turned back due to the impossible conditions, but my father was unconvinced. He insisted that they had persevered, and we would find them down the trail. Only, there was no trail. My brothers and I followed our dad through thickets of wild brush, through patches of overgrown moss, through the storm. We had Mountain House egg burritos for lunch. It was like eating the soul of a beaten-down man. I looked to my brothers, giggling over the flickering flame of our propane stove. I joined in the senseless guffaws, disillusioned to the point of hilarity by our miserable circumstance. As our father looked upon his children, delirious from the senseless drudgery he'd forced on them, we decided to change course. We hiked back the way we came, off the ridge, down the face of the mountain, to the trailhead. Everyone was waiting when we got back, dumbstruck, utterly bewildered. Many began to praise our survival. I stared at them all, sapped of every bit of energy that social behavior requires. I climbed in the back of a truck and laid there for hours, thanking God in heaven it was over.

Thu Apr 05 2007

it was a great hike, can be strenuous though. the trail gets rather steep in areas, at one point it was around a 60 degree incline up a hill. i was climbing and scrambling up, holding onto whatever i could grab! there's fantastic views and getting about treeline is very rewarding. rain is common.

Showing results 1 - 30 of 75