Kesugi Ridge (Curry Ridge) Trail

HARD 30 reviews
#1 of 7 trails in

Kesugi Ridge (Curry Ridge) Trail is a 29.2 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Talkeetna, 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
5990 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

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.

4 months ago

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.

backpacking
6 months ago

Awesome hike. Amazing view of the Mount Denali

backpacking
6 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.

hiking
6 months ago

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.

backpacking
6 months ago

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.

7 months ago

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.

8 months ago

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

backpacking
10 months ago

Amazing trail, so beautiful!

Sunday, July 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.

Thursday, July 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.

hiking
Thursday, April 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.

Sunday, September 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.

8 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

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.

1 month ago

hiking
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backpacking
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