Grab your hiking boots and head north to Talkeetna and Denali State Park for some of the best hiking you’ll find in Alaska. In the upper Susitna Valley, great trails give ways to spectacular views of Denali and the Alaska Range on everything from day hikes to multi-day expeditions.
Close to Talkeetna, don’t miss the Talkeetna Lakes trail system. This 3.5-mile walking trail loops around X Lake and features custom benches for when you are ready to take a break. Its perfect for families or those just starting out, with minimal elevation gain. It’s located on Comsat Road, about a mile and a half before town. You can also hike around the Talkeetna Riverfront Park for views of the Talkeetna River and the mountains.
Further north in Denali State Park, the Byers Lake Loop is a popular hike and is relatively easy for families, although it is five miles, so plan accordingly for time. Another easy hike with great views is at Kesugi Ken Campground at Mile 135.4 Parks Hwy. From the day-use parking lot, you can access ADA-compliant trails that feature overlooks with panoramic views of Denali.
The views of Denali and the Alaska Range in Denali State Park are even better than in the national park. And there are numerous ways you can enjoy those views – from a kayak or canoe, on foot or on a camping trip, for example.
Kesugi Ken Campground in Denali State Park offers RV and tent sites, as well as public-use cabins (book well in advance for the cabins!). A trail system is accessible right from the campground, allowing you a simple walk to an overlook or a starting point for a longer trek. For the real adventurers, Curry and Kesugi ridges form a 35-mile ridge trail system for multi-day treks.
Public-use cabins can be rented in advance through the Alaska State Parks for overnight visits. In the winter, the cross-country skiing, snowmachining and northern lights viewing are great in Denali State Park.
Don’t miss out on one of Alaska’s most underrated state parks. Stop for a day, or pack the tent for a weekend of great views and big adventures.
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