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Overview

Covering more than 325,000 acres, Denali State Park lies just southwest of the better-known Denali National Park. The state park covers a mix of glaciated valleys, forested slopes, and alpine tundra, and has far fewer visitors than its national park neighbor. The Parks Highway slices through the heart of Denali State Park from mile 132 to Mile 169. A pullout at Mile 135 provides a panoramic view of the Alaska Range and Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley) when the weather cooperates.

Several long hiking trails cross the state park, attracting backcountry enthusiasts. Most notable is a 27-mile trail over Kesugi Ridge, with its pristine ...

Covering more than 325,000 acres, Denali State Park lies just southwest of the better-known Denali National Park. The state park covers a mix of glaciated valleys, forested slopes, and alpine tundra, and has far fewer visitors than its national park neighbor. The Parks Highway slices through the heart of Denali State Park from mile 132 to Mile 169. A pullout at Mile 135 provides a panoramic view of the Alaska Range and Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley) when the weather cooperates.

Several long hiking trails cross the state park, attracting backcountry enthusiasts. Most notable is a 27-mile trail over Kesugi Ridge, with its pristine alpine country and unobstructed views of Denali. There are lots of bears here, so hikers need to take precautions.

The western portion of Denali State Park is accessed via Petersville Road, a scenic 30-mile gravel road. The last 10 miles are rough, with four-wheel-drive vehicles recommended. Camping and public-use cabins are available at Byers Lake, along with guided nature walks and canoe rentals. A second campground is along Troublesome Creek.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Don Pitcher for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    July through September