4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
For an epic day hike along a well-established path, the Triple Lakes Trail is one of the most flexible and challenging hikes near Denali's main visitor center.
Hike out-and-back from either trailhead or secure a shuttle and enjoy the entire trail from end to end, depicted here.
The trail begins by crossing two creeks by bridge, then quickly winds its way into an effervescent spruce forest as it steadily climbs.
As you hug the hilly contours, views of Riley Creek can be seen in the basin below, with an endless selection of unnamed peaks seen cascading along the horizon.
Wildflowers are also particularly notable in the spring and early summer. The southernmost section of the Triple Lakes Trail trail offers commanding views of the lakes, then skirts along their shores.
According to the park, established first-come, first-serve campsites are available near two of the lakes, as long as you obtain the appropriate permits beforehand. One way, the entire trail is 9.5 miles, with its highest point almost perfectly in the middle.
Trailheads are located at the Denali Visitor Center and along Highway 3 due south, though water and restrooms are only available at the visitor center. Sources: https://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/unit1.htm https://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/triple.htm