Walks and Hikes
A variety of ranger-led walks and hikes are offered throughout the park. Joining a ranger is an excellent way to learn more about Denali.
While on a guided walk, you will experience the park with all your senses. You may or may not see wildlife, but you will certainly see signs of their passing. You will also see the indelible traces of winter, the dominant season that shapes all life in the subarctic.
Ranger-led hikes are offered from early June to mid-September each year. Trail descriptions are below; you may also want to check out a map of hiking trails in the park.
Horseshoe Lake Walk
McKinley Station Walk
Eielson Alpine Hike
Mount Healy Trail Hike
At 10 am daily (except Sundays), join a ranger at the Denali Visitor Center for a strenuous naturalist hike up the Mount Healy Trail. The hike is guided for two hours one-way up the Mount Healy Trail then you have the option to continue to the overlook on your own or return with the ranger to the Denali Visitor Center. Returning with the ranger means descending without naturalist stops, and you will thus arrive at the center by 12:30 pm.
Difficulty: Difficult to very difficult
Distance: Varies depending on conditions; minimum ~2 miles round trip
Highlights: Transition from boreal forest to tree-less alpine environment; occasional views of Mt. McKinley (on clear days)
Elevation change: Varies depending on conditions; minimum 500' gain and loss
Surface: Native rocks, some gravel, some areas of mud and debris
Did You Know?
Nearly 500 vegetation plots have been installed in Denali, to monitor climate change. Warmer temperatures allow woody plants to grow at higher elevations, invading the fragile and unique plants already in high alpine tundra - and threatening the animals that depend on those specialized plants.