Triple Lakes Out and Back
ElevationAscent: 2,172' 662 m
Descent: -2,172' -662 m
High: 2,793' 851 m
Low: 1,669' 509 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 32% (18°)
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“This longer out and back route is great for a longer day or an overnight at a beautiful alpine lake”— Ike Waits
You'll eventually continue onto the Triple Lakes Trail, which will meander gently for the first mile or so before depositing visitors at the foot of a steep climb. The next mile will be the most strenuous of the trip, so be sure to slow down and take breaks when you need to. There won't be many switchbacks to ease your progress, but there are still plenty of places to stop, catch your breath, and enjoy some spectacular views. Though you won't top out on the ridgeline for a little while longer, the climbing will ease significantly past the three-mile mark.
Enjoy the rolling terrain, because a few miles further on you'll notice that you're dropping swiftly to the first of the three lakes on this route. The lakes are clustered together, so you'll find that after the strenuous climb to reach the lakes, you'll have a much easier time visiting all three. The views from each are comparable and include sweeping views of Denali in the distance. You may want to bring your camera, as there will be ample opportunity to snap some wildlife shots. The wet hollow that houses the lakes is perfect moose habitat, and you're likely to see these giants or at least their leavings.
From the lakes, you can either decide to set up your tent for the night before making the return trip, or you may want to have lunch before turning around. Though you can continue on to George Parks Highway, the rest of the route isn't very scenic, and you'll still need to get back to the visitor center.
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.
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Land Manager: National Park Service - Denali National Park