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Horseshoe Lake

Intermediate
 4.4 (16) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A lovely hike around the scenic and peaceful Horseshoe Lake often with views of wildlife.


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Map Key

2.3

Miles

3.7

KM

Loop

1,725' 526 m

High

1,497' 456 m

Low

287' 88 m

Up

287' 88 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

17%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly This is the perfect trail to get your kids out of the car and burn their energy after a long day's drive.

Overview

This relatively flat and easy trail is a great intro to Denali - with beautiful scenery, a peaceful lake, and a good chance to spot some wildlife residents of the park, this is a great hike to take in all the park has to offer.

Description

The journey to Horseshoe Lake is a relatively popular one within the park, but considering the fact that most people enjoy Denali from the bus without ever stepping onto a trail, the "crowds" on this trail are still relative, and you probably won't encounter more than a dozen people even on a busy day.

Nonetheless, this trail provides visitors who do choose to hike the perfect excuse to get out of the car after a long day's drive, stretch their legs, and, hopefully, experience some of the stunning wildlife for which Denali National Park and Preserve is known.

While the trail can be linked to via the Bike Path or the Taiga Trail, the most common way to start is from the small roadside parking area off Park Road. Starting at the Horseshoe Lake Trail Parking Area, follow the trail north through beautiful boreal forests to the lakeshore. The trail gently descends to the lake.

While at the lake, keep your eyes peeled for full-racked bull moose as this can be a popular spot for them to cool off in the summertime. Continue north along the lakeshore, following a small creek until the trail loops to the east and brings you back around to hike south toward the lake. Be sure to take the short Horseshoe Lake Spur for even more views of this lovely lake!

After enjoying the lake, simply finish out the loop on the Horseshoe Lake Trail and return the way you came to reach the parking area.

This content was contributed by author Ike Waits. For a comprehensive hiking guide to Denali National Park and to see more by Ike, click here.

Flora & Fauna

Moose and beaver are known to frequent this area. Bring your camera!

Contacts

Shared By:

Ike Waits

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 16 votes

#889

Overall
  4.4 from 16 votes
5 Star
50%
4 Star
44%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#7

in Alaska

#889

Overall
7 Views Last Month
1,522 Since Oct 22, 2015
Intermediate

17%
6%
72%
0%
6%
0%

Photos

Peering down over Horseshoe Lake. with permission from Rumiana Koynova-Tenchova
Sep 9, 2016 near Healy, AK
Beaver Dam at Horseshoe Lake Traial, Denali
Sep 12, 2018 near Healy, AK
Walk out to the rushing waters of the Nenana River on northside of this trail!
Sep 15, 2020 near Healy, AK
Horseshoe Lake, Denali. with permission from Rumiana Koynova-Tenchova
Sep 9, 2016 near Healy, AK
Southwest corner of Horseshoe Lake.
Sep 15, 2020 near Healy, AK
Entrance of Horseshoe Lake Trailhead, looking back towards railroad tracks
Sep 15, 2020 near Healy, AK

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Check-Ins

Sep 14, 2020
Brian Penn
Very scenic and beautiful trail adjacent to water. 2.3mi — 1h 45m
Sep 7, 2020
Tom Herr
Beautiful, relaxing hike by the lake and along the Nenana River. Carpet like trail with many beaver dams. 2.3mi
Aug 4, 2020
Marc Daniel
With Mila
Jun 17, 2020
Matt Huckabee
Sep 25, 2019
Lanny N Donna Holbrook
2001
Sep 16, 2019
Toni Nunley
Sep 2, 2019
Tom Tom
Aug 24, 2019
Stephen Adkins