2015  HIKING, CYCLING,

& RV TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Denali AKA Mt. McKinley

 

   
 
Runtrails' Web Journal
 
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   MT. HEALY OVERLOOK & RIDGE, MY FAVORITE
  FRONT-COUNTRY
HIKE @ DENALI NATL. PARK

FRIDAY, JULY 24

"Mt. Healy Overlook Trail: an increasingly steep hike out of the forest and into the alpine      
country. Potential views of Denali, if skies are clear. Two hours one way (2.7 miles
from the visitor center to the overlook) with 1,700- foot elevation gain."
 
~ Denali National Park web page re: trails in the front country
 
 

Most people stop at the overlook, catch their breath while gazing out to the valleys and mountains in three directions, then head back down to the trailhead:

Not me, and not a few other adventuresome souls who want more of what Mt. Healy has to offer.

A perfectly good trail continues for more than another mile up and down over Healy's high ridges. And for those with even more time and energy, you can hike cross-country above and beyond that to the mountain's highest peak:

I love this hike and was just waiting for good weather to do it. I wouldn't want to be on this exposed ridge during a storm.

The more clear the sky, the more you'll see in the distance. Unfortunately, it wasn't clear enough over the Alaska Range to see Denali today but otherwise I had a terrific hike:

What a pretty day! There was no rain, despite a 40% chance of showers and/or t-storms. The sky was mostly clear when I got up. While I was hiking between 9:30 AM and 2:30 PM there were fluffy white clouds and some grayer ones.

Temps ranged from 44 to 71 F. at our campsite at Riley Creek. Twenty-four hundred feet higher on Healy Ridge, I'm sure it was cooler. The sun felt quite warm on the ridge, however, even with some wind:

 
No shelter up here from the sun, wind, or storms

ASCENT TO THE OVERLOOK

Jim dropped me off and picked me up at the Taiga trailhead at the RR tracks near the main Denali visitor center. From there, on the current trail, it's about 2.7 miles to the overlook where most people turn around. The elevation gain is about 1,700 feet in this section.

I marked my route on this map from the park's website:

A new trail is being built to cut off a little bit of the distance between the current intersection of the Taiga and Healy Overlook trails but it's still blocked off:

 

 

I also noted new crushed stone surfaces and new stone and log steps along both the Taiga and lower Healy Overlook trails to make them more user-friendly:

 

Volunteers have been very busy on several of the park trails since we were here three years ago and I'm appreciative of that.

Here are some more photos of the trail and views on the way up to the overlook:

 


The fireweeds are beautiful right now.

 


The buildings in the distance in the valley are the sled dog complex.


Much of the trail is smooth but there are some rocks to climb over, too.


The last half mile switchbacks up a steeper slope to the overlook.

 


View of the ridge from the trail just before the overlook.


Approaching the overlook

The sign (above) says this is the end of the maintained trail. Like I said earlier, keep going! It just gets better and better the farther along the ridge you hike and much of the elevation has already been gained.

p class="MsoNoSpacing" align="left"> Continued on the next page:  lots more scenes from the ridge and descent

Happy trails,

Sue
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil

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