Hiking Trails in Denali State Park in Alaska

Hiking Trails in Denali State Park in Alaska
Denali State Park is a 325,240-acre wilderness in the shadows of Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park. The state park encompasses mountain ranges, deep gorges and glacial fields.

You can explore the vast range of this Alaskan wilderness area along one of the park's hiking trails, which follow ridgelines and circle mountain lakes. Nine trails cross the park and range from short, one-mile walks to challenging, multi-day treks extending as far as 36 miles.

Troublesome Creek Trail

The Troublesome Creek Trail between the Troublesome Creek Trailhead and the Little Coal Creek Trailhead is the longest hike in the park, crossing 36 miles of mountainous terrain through Denali State Park.

This trail is also one of the most technically challenging paths in the park. Steep and bushy areas make already difficult traverses even more challenging, according to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

The trail follows a mix of high ridgelines and deep canyons. The trail is seldom maintained, adding to the abundance of obstructing vegetation and diminishing navigability. The tail end of the hike follows the Kesugi Ridge Trail. You will follow this equally challenging path for the last or first 19 miles of the hike, depending from which trailhead you start.


Little Coal Creek Trail

The Little Coal Creek trail is located at the North end of the park. The trail begins at the Little Coal Creek Trailhead and ends 2 miles later at the Alpine Trailhead.

The hike is moderately challenging and is an out and back design. For a longer hike, you can continue past the Alpine Trailhead on the Kesugi Ridge Trail until you see fit to turn back. The Little Coal Creek Trail is one of the best-maintained trails in the park.

Byers Lake Loop

The Byers Lake Loop is located under the Kesugi Ridge, halfway between the Little Coal Creek and Troublesome Creek trailheads. This trail is an easy 5-mile hike starting and ending at the Byers Lake Campground. The hike circles the lake, offering a variety of scenic views.

At the trail's halfway point, you have the option to continue on either the Troublesome Creek or Kesugi Ridge trails.

Ermine Hill Trail

The Ermine Hill Trail is located between the Troublesome Creek and Little Coal trailheads. The path climbs up Kesugi Ridge, where it forms a confluence with the ridge trail. Ermine Hill is a 3-mile climb from the Ermine Hill Trailhead to the top of the Ridge.

It is a moderately difficult hike. Like the Little Coal Creek Trail, Ermine Hill is a well-maintained path that requires little in the way of navigation.


Article Written By Jim Jansen

Jim Jansen has been writing articles since 2005 and has been featured in publications such as "The River Watch," and also contributes to Trails.com and LIVESTRONG.COM. He has a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Michigan State University. Jansen specializes in outdoor recreation and environmental topics.

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