5 Best Hikes in Denali State Park

Looking for the best hikes in Denali State Park? Denali State Park has plenty of hiking and backpacking trails that offer incredible views of Denali mountain.

Denali State Park covers 325,240 acres of land. It’s located along the Parks Highway, just east of Denali National Park and Preserve, which is the most popular national park in Alaska.

In this post, I’m going to share the best Denali State Park hiking trails and directions on how to get to each one.

5 Best Hikes in Denali State Park, Alaska


1. Curry Ridge Trail

Distance: 6.5 miles roundtrip
Time: 3 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,023 feet
Difficulty: Easy

Curry Ridge Trail is one of the best day hikes in Denali State Park. This trail provides plenty of incredible photo ops of Denali mountain along the way.

The Curry Ridge Trail starts from the K’esugi Ken Campground in Denali State Park. You’ll gradually climb above the treeline and reach 360-degree views of the surrounding rolling tundra and Denali.

Depending on the time of year, this trail can be swarming with mosquitoes.

Read the full trail guide: Hike Curry Ridge Trail in Denali State Park

How to get to Curry Ridge Trail From Anchorage:

From Anchorage, head north on the Glenn Highway. Follow the Glenn Highway for 136 miles. Turn right towards the K’esugi Ken Campground. You can park in the day-use parking lot.

Hike Curry Ridge in Denali State Park Rocky Knob
Curry Ridge Trail

2. K’esugi Ridge Trail

Distance: 29 miles one-way
Time: 3 days
Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
Difficulty: Moderate

K’esugi Ridge Trail is the best backpacking trail in Denali State Park. You will traverse miles of rolling alpine terrain with epic views of Denali.

This trail is best hiked between late June and mid-September. It’s also best to hike the trail from the north end at Little Coal Creek to the south end at Byers Lake Trailhead as the northern end of the trail is higher at 3,550 feet elevation.

How to get to K’esugi Ridge Trail in Denali State Park:

From Anchorage, head north on the Glenn Highway. Follow the Glenn Highway until Mile Post 163.9. Turn right towards the Little Coal Creek Trailhead parking lot.

Best hikes in Denali State Park Kesugi Ridge Trail Backpacking
K’esugi Ridge

3. Moose Flats Loop Trail

Distance: 0.5 miles
Time: 20 minutes
Elevation Gain: 0 feet
Difficulty: Very Easy

One of the easiest and quickest day hikes in Denali State Park is the Moose Flats Loop Trail. This wheelchair-accessible hiking trail is only half a mile long and can be completed in 20 minutes.

The Moose Flats Loop Trail starts in the day-use parking lot near K’esugi Ken Campground in Denali State Park.

Read the full trail guide: Hike Moose Flats Loop in Denali State Park

How to get to Moose Flats Loop Trail in Denali State Park:

From Anchorage, head north on the Glenn Highway. Follow the Glenn Highway for 136 miles. Turn right towards the K’esugi Ken Campground. You can park in the day-use parking lot.

Denali Moose Flats Loop Trail K'esugi Ken Campground
Moose Flats Loop Trail

4. Cascade Trail

Distance: 2 miles one-way
Time: 1 hour
Elevation Gain: 1,700 feet
Difficulty: Moderate

The Cascade Trail in Denali State Park starts from the Byers Lake Loop Trail, which has a fun suspension bridge crossing.

You will ascend a steep trail that takes you past a waterfall and onto the ridge. You can continue on the trail for a mile to the west to reach Tarn Point, a popular viewpoint and a nice place to end a day hike.

How to get to Cascade Tail in Denali State Park:

From Anchorage, head north on the Glenn Highway. Follow the Glenn Highway until Mile Post 147. Turn right towards the Byers Lake Campground.

Best Hiking Trails Denali State Park Cascade Trail Byers Lake
Cascade Trail

5. Ermine Hill Trail

Distance: 3.7 miles one-way
Time: 2 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet
Difficulty: Easy

Ermine Hill Trail takes you through the woods and over a creek before making your way up the ridge by switchbacks.

This is the easiest access to K’esugi Ridge Trail if you don’t have much time to complete the entire trail.

There are a lot of cool rock formations and boulders on the ridge and it’s a fun place for an overnight backpacking trip.

How to get to Ermine Hill in Denali State Park:

From Anchorage, head north on the Glenn Highway. Follow the Glenn Highway until Mile Post 156.5. Turn right towards the Ermine Hill Trailhead parking lot.

Hiking Trails Denali State Park Ermine Hill Trail
Ermine Hill Trail

Happy hiking!


More Hiking Trails in Denali State Park

Other hiking trails in Denali State Park are Little Coal Creek Trail, Troublesome Creek Trail, Tokositna Flats Winter Trail, Byers Lake Loop Trail.

Denali State Park Map

View the Denali State Park Trail Map.

Where to Eat Near Denali State Park

The closest restaurants I would recommend can be found in Talkeetna.

  • Talkeetna Spinach Bread – Seriously, the best spinach bread ever!
  • Denali Brewpub – Good beer and decent food.
  • Mountain High Pizza Pie – I like the pizza here.
  • Roadhouse – Try a razzie!

Read More

Hike Curry Ridge Trail in Denali State Park

Hike Moose Flats Loop Trail in Denali State Park

Alaska Travel Guide


Pin For Later

Denali State Park is located adjacent to Denali National Park in Alaska and offers some incredible views of Denali mountain, the tallest mountain in North America. Check out these 5 best hiking trail in Denali State Park. From day hikes to overnight backpacking trips, you'll want to plan your adventure travel now.

Do you have any questions about the best hikes in Denali State Park? Leave them in comments.

Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM