The Kesugi Ridge Trail in Denali is easy to navigate and can be done in a long weekend, but the breathtaking views make it a must for avid backpackers. Known as one of the most beautiful trails in the United States, this trail is one you won’t want to miss.
Where to Start and End
Kesugi Ridge Trail is around 28 miles long, perfect for a few days of backpacking. It can be stretched to as long as a week if you take your time and go at the right time of the year. The beginning of the trail is steep but starting at Little Coal Creek Trailhead shaves off some of the elevation. During the right weather, you’ll be able to see the mountains ahead of you as you hike. Follow the trail to end at Byers Lake Trailhead, where you can catch a ride back to the start.
Best Time to Visit
Peak season is July to September, and it’s typically a good idea to go during the peak season. Outside of the season, it can be dangerous to hike this trail because of extreme weather conditions. It can also be more uncomfortable to hike at the very beginning of the season or right before the peak season begins because of the bugs. For a fantastic view throughout your hike, plan to visit in late August or early September and check the weather forecast carefully before you go. When the weather’s great, you have a fantastic view of Mt. McKinley throughout the hike.
What You Can See
The trail winds through Denali State Park, north of Anchorage. Most people start at Little Coal Creek Trailhead then head south toward Byers Lake Trailhead. This provides plenty of fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. While hiking, it’s possible to see plenty of Alaskan wildlife, including moose and bears. Leave plenty of time to hike this trail to ensure you have time to stop and watch the wildlife, from a safe distance, before heading on to your next campsite.
What You’ll Want to Watch Out For
Kesugi Ridge Trail can be dangerous, even though it’s easy to navigate. Watch out for bears and other wildlife, and bring bear spray, a way to protect food from animals at night, and other safety items with you to be protected while you’re hiking and camping. Also, since the weather can be unpredictable, make sure you bring extra clothes along and a poncho or umbrella in case it rains. Depending on the time of year you go, it’s also vital to bring bug spray as the bugs can be overwhelming at certain times of the year.
If you’re looking for an easier hike with breathtaking views, set out on Kesugi Ridge Trail. Though it can be done in just a few days, plan to spend a little bit longer so you can relax as you hike, check out the Alaskan wildlife, and really enjoy your view. With a little preparation for the area and knowledge of the weather to expect, this could be a fantastic backpacking trip you’re going to remember forever.
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Did You Know?
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