McKinley Station Loop

A historic path linking the Visitor Center and Riley Creek Campground.

Hiking Easy

4.8 km
135 m
135 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
500 m
High Point
552 m
McKinley Station Loop Map

The McKinley Station Trail is a historical interpretive pathway connecting the Visitor Center to Riley Creek Campground. "Highlights include historic building remains, geological features, the railroad trestle, and Riley Creek," according to the park. Though there is some slight elevation gain, the entire trail is crushed gravel, making it one of the easiest hikes in Denali when paired with the Bike Path, seen here.


For history buffs, this loop offers a "journey back to a time when a raucous and vibrant community of gold prospectors, trappers, hunters, and pioneer rangers" occupied the area. Through the early 1900s, these settlers built a community complete with a ranch, roadhouse, and even a hotel, according to the NPS. "The park's first ranger, Harry Karstens however, arrived in early summer 1921, and began the pioneering work establishing the rule and law in the new park."

Water and restrooms are available at both the visitor center and campground, but not along the trail. Ranger Led Hikes are another option to enjoy this area, with tours departing the visitor center daily from June 1st until September 12th.

For more information on the historic station, check out this trail guide published by the National Park.



Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.


1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

between May and September


  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area