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Dragonfly Creek – Denali Alaska

Denali, Alaska


Waterfalls, rock climbing area, Nenana River overlook


<200 yards

Parking Lot Elevation

1560 ft

Summit Elevation

1507 ft

Elevation Gain/Loss

53 ft

Time Required

<1 hour





Water Info

You will hike along Dragonfly Creek for the entire hike. The hike is really short and you will most likely not need to drink much water.

Best Season

Summer, fall



Sun Exposure

Lots of spruce, birch and brush to cover the sun.

Trail Condition

Easy to see trail. Very clear.



Visitor Center



Allowed – lots of fun to camp below the falls!


Bring snacks


Hiking shoes

GPS Coordinates

Trailhead:   63.794291°, -148.922082°
Dragonfly Waterfall:  63.794360°, -148.922561°

Driving Directions

The Trail:

Dragonfly Creek Denali Alaska

There is a nicely sized pull-out area just off the Parks Highway and you will need to go over the guard-rail at the north side to see the trail.  The dirt path to the actual creek is very short and you could easily see the waterfall in less than 10 minutes round trip.

I often see fireweed along this trail.

Dragonfly Creek

The creek then flows west and the trail follows the creek until the first waterfall.

Dragonfly Creek

Be careful around this area as it may be slippery and it is steep.   The waterfall is about 50+ feet and is more like a waterslide.  You can also get a great view of the railroad across the Nenana River and if you come at the right time you could spot trains going up and down the line.

Dragonfly Creek

Dragonfly Creek Waterfall

Dragonfly Creek Waterfall

Dragonfly Creek Dragonfly Creek Dragonfly Creek

Dragonfly Creek

You will probably notice a few climbing anchors.  I have rappelled to the bottom of Dragonfly Waterfall and it is quite fun.  I have also spoke with a few local climbers and they say it is  a poor area to climb as most of the rock is brittle and shale-like.

On the other hand, if you are an ice climber then this may be a great spot for you to try out.  The winter provides tons of ice to climb up.

Dragonfly Creek

If you do rappel or climb, please be safe and use all the proper gear – be cautious

I put some webbing around a good sized spruce tree nearby.  It was a fun rappel but it only goes down about 50 feet or so.

The trail to the bottom follows by this same spruce tree.

Dragonfly Creek

Dragonfly Creek

From here the trail cuts north and then winds down to the base of the waterfall.  Just take your time and you will be safe. (You can see my rope coming down the side of the rock)

Just below the main waterfall there are smaller falls which are pretty neat to see also.

Dragonfly Creek

Dragonfly Creek Dragonfly Creek Dragonfly Creek

This is a fun area to camp and have fires and otherwise enjoy the scenery.  If you follow the creek all the way down you will come to the Nenana River.  This river is a glacier fed river and is very silty.  I have found bear and moose tracks down here so please keep an eye out for these large animals.

Dragonfly Creek in Winter

I had the opportunity to visit Dragonfly Creek in March.  There was tons of snow and ice of course.  The waterfall had frozen over beautifully.

I noticed some ice climbers were recently here because I could see their marks in the ice.  Winter is an amazing time to visit here but just be careful so you don’t slip and fall over the edge.

The Return:

Head back towards your car

Personal Thoughts:

Dragonfly Creek and Waterfall are a great place to visit if you have the extra time.  While working in Denali I had the opportunity to visit here often.  It was even more enjoyable with a campfire and food.

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The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek.  If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

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About The Author
Jeff Johnson
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! JeffTJohnson@ymail.com

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