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