Kesugi Ridge, AK
A multiday backpack along Alaska’s Kesugi Ridge is not unlike a safari, as you have a good chance of spotting the state’s big five: black and grizzly bears, moose, caribou, and even wolves. And looming over you the entire time is the state’s sixth great beast: Denali. The 29-mile Kesugi Ridge Trail is in fact in Denali State Park and is a local favorite for its 360-degree views, particularly of the 20,320-foot mountain formerly known as Mount McKinley. The trail, which starts in thick forest and emerges onto a tundra spine, essentially runs along the side of Kesugi Mountain, with a constant sightline of the entire Alaska Range. It’s also popular for its lack of bushwhacking and head-spinning navigation, typical of most forays into the Alaskan backcountry. And, yet, even an “easy” trail in Alaska is likely to be completely empty the entire three to four days you’re on it.
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