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Hikes outside Denali

Which Denali National Park and Preserve hotels are on sale?
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Massachusetts
posts: 38
reviews: 29
Hikes outside Denali

We are traveling to Alaska in mid-August for a ten day trip and thinking of spending 4-6 days near Denali, staying just outside in Healy. While we plan to spend a couple of days inside the park using the shuttle, we are looking for suggestions of hikes in the area that don't require 6-8 hours on the bus as we would much rather be out and about moving around than sitting. I have found that in other places some of the best hikes and scenic areas can sometimes be found outside of national parks and Alaska seems to have no shortage of wilderness and scenery. Does anyone have a favorite hike within an hour or two from Healy?

5 replies to this topic
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
posts: 13,486
reviews: 24
1. Re: Hikes outside Denali

I find that near Denali the best hikes are actually inside the park. Go to the park website and download the park newspaper, Alpenglow. It lists all the trails and hikes near the park entrance. Mt. Healy Overlook, Horseshoe Lake, Savage River Alpine and Savage River Loop trails all come to mind depending on interest, length and difficulty.

USA
Destination Expert
for Alaska, Denali National Park and Preserve, Yellowstone National Park
posts: 9,465
reviews: 44
2. Re: Hikes outside Denali

There are great hikes (on trails even!) at the DNP entrance, Mt Healy trail being the crown jewel of entrance hikes, short drive from Healy.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143022-i1271-k435…

You can also drive the short drive in your rental car to Savage River Loop.

Another option is to do a dayhike in the park on the east end for a shorter shuttle ride.

Or one of my favorite of many "hikes" in the park is to get off the shuttle in Igloo canyon at Igloo campground for the pit toilets (1 1/2 hr shuttle ride?) & then hike the road up & over Sable Pass. It is illegal to even step a toe off the road in the Sable Pass closure. But many folks do not know you can walk the road there- one of the most scenic areas of the park. Yet with the abilitiy of being able to wave down a green shuttte. Igloo canyon is a wildlife corridor & the Sable pass closure is a bear habitat closure so must be bear/wildlife aware, make noise, & watch carefully for bears coming out of ravines along the road. If buses are stopped for a while, probably a bear.

Most of us here always recommend talking to the rangers to get current trail & road conditions.

Once I was walking the road & the road itself was closed to walkers (wolf den activity). So I had to either climb up to a ridge thru willows & over (NOT) or wait for a shuttle in the rain for a ride through that section of road. It was my most frustating wait in the rain as one driver wouldn't let me ride the short closed road section standing.

So always check with rangers regarding current trail & road walking conditions.

Massachusetts
posts: 38
reviews: 29
3. Re: Hikes outside Denali

Thanks for the tips, we will probably spend most of the time inside the park then but only buy a trip out to Eielson Visitor Center or Wonder Lake for one day and do something shorter like Sable Pass or Mt. Healy the next. Do the shuttle bus reservations usually fill up well in advance in the summer or is it possible to decide on where we want to take our shorter trip the day before?

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
posts: 28,668
reviews: 35
4. Re: Hikes outside Denali

There is a percentage of tickets that are left available for sale in person - but that is on a first come basis - for me, why waste vacation time standing in line, hoping for tickets? They can sell out, so I would prebook to save time and frustration myself. You would have to take the bus into the park if you want to hike in the Sable area - but not for Mt. Healy. :)

MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
posts: 13,486
reviews: 24
5. Re: Hikes outside Denali

Also note that if you call (not booking online), you can get three days of bus trips into the park and only pay for two (get one free!).

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