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Horseshoe Lake

  4.4 ( 14 ) Favorite


2.3 mile 3.7 kilometer loop


Ascent: 287' 88 m
Descent: -287' -88 m
High: 1,725' 526 m
Low: 1,497' 456 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 17% (10°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Ike Waits

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

Ike Waits

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.


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.

Flora & Fauna

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

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Sep 25, 2019
Lanny N Donna Holbrook
Sep 16, 2019
Toni Nunley
Sep 2, 2019
Tom Tom
Aug 24, 2019
Stephen Adkins
Aug 1, 2019
Sean Stockmoe
Jun 9, 2019
Sungyeal Kim
May 28, 2019
Rock On
May 26, 2019
Summer Chapman
Super chill, possible beaver sightings

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 14 votes


  4.4 from 14 votes
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in Alaska


17 Views Last Month
1,247 Since Oct 22, 2015



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
Horseshoe Lake, Denali. with permission from Rumiana Koynova-Tenchova
Sep 9, 2016 near Healy, AK
Denali, Horseshoe Lake. with permission from Rumiana Koynova-Tenchova
Sep 15, 2016 near Healy, AK


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