Alaska Trails

Savor Summer in Denali State Park

Long days and big views make this a trip you'll never forget.

Early summer is the perfect time for an Alaskan backpacking trip, with fewer bugs and crowds than later in the year. Pick your way through permafrost hummocks on the K’esugi Ridge Trail, where you can choose from a multiday traverse or a one-night out-and-back beneath Alaska’s most iconic mountain. For an overnight trip, start at the Little Coal Creek trailhead and hike 3.2 miles to a campsite just left of this photo. Views stretch from the river valley below all the way to the cloud-decked peak of Denali, and a small creek runs nearby. For a longer trip, drop a shuttle car at the Ermine Hill Trailhead, 17.8 miles of ridgeline hiking and Alaska Range views from Little Coal Creek. Parts of the route are only marked by cairns, so bring a map. Note: Even early season in Alaska can be buggy by the standards of other states, so bring a headnet and bug spray.