Denali National Park, Alaska
Horseshoe Lake, wildlife
About 2 miles round trip
1 1/2 hours roundtrip
Not allowed on trail
Bring 1 liter of water
Many trees, sun exposure is minimal
Trail is very clear and maintained
Bring some snacks
Good hiking shoes, light jacket, bug spray
Trailhead: 63°44’12.39″N, 148°54’54.92″W
Horseshoe Lake: 63°44’32.84″N, 148°54’33.49″W
This is a short hike located right at the entrance to Denali National Park. Horseshoe Lake is so named because the lake is shaped, well, like a horseshoe.
The parking lot is located a few feet from the rail tracks and the trail follows the tracks for a few hundred feet until you cross over to the other side.
You will see several signs that point you to Horseshoe Lake or the Mt. Healy Overlook trail. Simply cross over the tracks and follow the trail down the hill to the lake.
For much of the hike you will have decent views of Horseshoe Lake from above so take advantage and get some good pictures.
The trail is well maintained and I have seen people with just about all types of skill levels hiking. There is a steep area that features over a hundred steps but if you take your time you will be able to get down and up this area without a problem.
I have seen beaver and moose on this hike and I’m sure you will have a good chance seeing wildlife also. I also so countless squirrels scurrying about the ground and they seem rather tame and aren’t afraid if you approach close to them.
Once you get down from the steep area you will cross over several small wooden bridges that allow passage over creeks. You will curve around and finally arrive at the lake.
The lake is beautiful and you can probably see arctic greyling fish jumping from the water. If you come at the right time you may even see a train go by on top towards the west side.
The new trail continues around the entire lake and ends back where you first came down from above. I recommend doing the entire lake trail as you may have chances to see moose and beaver. Along this route you get to see the Nenana River up close and you cross over a few more wooden bridges.
This lake is even more beautiful during fall months!
Head back towards the parking lot.
This hike is a great and quick way to get outside and enjoy the outdoors if you are short on time. It is still very close to Glitter Gulch (the area in Denali with all the shops and hotels) so if you happen to be staying at one of the Denali accommodations you should find time to see Horseshoe Lake.