Denali AKA Mt. McKinley


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"From Mud Bay Road and Lily Lake, the trail wanders up the mountain using switchbacks    
for a moderate-level hike and is about 2.8 miles to the summit."
~ Haines Is for Hikers pamphlet from the visitors' center
Mt. Riley dominates the view just south of Haines. Rising 1,760 feet above sea level, it sits on Chilkat Peninsula between Chilkat Inlet and the Lynn Canal.

This is a good perspective of the mountain from the southern slope of nearby Mt. Ripinsky:

There are three trailheads to hike to the summit of Mt. Riley, which lies in Chilkat State Park. There is no fee to park at any of them.

The most direct route is from Mud Bay Road about three miles from town. This trail goes up the western side of the mountain (Chilkat Inlet side). The second route begins at the Haines water supply access road of FAA Road. It joins the main trail past Lily Lake. Both of these routes are less than three miles one way.

Signs at Mud Bay trailhead; a newer metal sign has longer distances marked on it.

The third way up is the longest and steepest, from the Battery Point Trail on the east side of Mt. Riley. It's about four miles one way. Rather than going out-and-back some folks like to hike point-to-point from the Battery Point trailhead to the Mud Bay trailhead or vice versa, a distance of about six miles.

I planned to hike to the summit of Mt. Riley this morning, using the trailhead off Mud Bay Rd.

Only one other vehicle was in the parking area across the road from the trailhead, which was a good sign since I had Casey with me. The more people on a trail, the more problems I have controlling rambunctious Casey. I decided to keep her on-leash until I could determine if anyone was close ahead of me.

The trail starts uphill, levels out a bit through a wet area with bog boards, then switchbacks more steeply to the intersection with the trail to Lily Lake:


The first 6/10ths mile through the forest had 19 different places with bog bridging. That part was interesting and pretty easy to walk because there wasn't much elevation gain: 






I never made it to the summit. If I'd been alone (or hiked with Cody off-leash) and had two trekking poles instead of one, I could have done it.

The trail in the second half mile was too steep to negotiate safely with Casey on-leash, however, so I gave up after reaching the first trail intersection. I knew the main trail continued uphill rather steeply from there (1,790 feet elevation gain in 2.8 miles from the trailhead, and part of what I'd already hiked was relatively flat).


I hiked toward Lily Lake but turned around when I heard shotguns in that direction. I let Casey descend the steeper parts of the main trail by herself.

I ended up with less than three miles on Mt. Riley instead of almost six miles. If we'd been in the area longer I would have gone back either alone or with Cody to get all the way to the summit on this trail.

Next entryscenes from the Chilkat River corridor, bald eagle preserve, native village of Klukwan, and my raft trip down the river

Happy trails,

"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