Husky House

Triple Lakes Hike (Denali)

Since not much is happening here right now, I thought I would summarize some of the earlier blog posts that were lost when the old site was taken offline.

The Triple Lakes trailhead is just off the Parks Highway about seven miles south of the Denali Park entrance at the north side of the Nenana River bridge (mile 231.3).  I should probably say the southern trailhead, because with the late summer 2010 completion of the footbridge across Riley Creek, and recent trail improvement on the north end, there may now be an actual northern trailhead accessible from the railway station or the visitors center.  I say that because of our experience hiking the trail end to end last May (2010), which I will get to later.

We have hiked this trail numerous times and enjoy it for its beautiful vistas (it’s Denali, that goes without saying!) and versatility as either an out and back trail or an end-to-end trail (7 or 8 miles).  If you hike to the end of the third lake and back, it is about 5 miles.  The trail on this end is excellent with opportunities to drop off onto the unbeaten path.  I’m not a fan of out and back, once I get on a trail I want to go wherever it goes, see what is around the next bend.  So, after several out and back hikes on Triple Lakes from the south trailhead, I had pushed Bill around so many “just one more bends” that we were well beyond the halfway point and were determined to venture on to the north end of the trail.  For the most part, this is a great trail with ongoing maintenance and improvement.  The trail was in great shape and easy to follow until the last couple miles when it descends from the ridge down to Riley Creek at the northern end.  At this point there were signs indicating that trail work (rerouting) was in progress and to follow the old trail, which we kept losing as it was either overgrown, washed out, underwater, poorly marked or all the above.  When we finally made it to Riley Creek it was too deep and fast to traverse, something we were aware of because it was May and melting snow and ice made the runoff furious.  We knew we had to take the forbidden passage across the Alaska Railroad bridge, which made it so much more sweet, and  after all, was a perk associated with completing the trek.

Toward the end of summer 2010 the park service completed the bridge (awesome!) across Riley Creek, and there were signs of trail improvement from the north end. This coming summer we will start the hike from the north end and check it out.  I can’t wait!

Bill walking across planks on a soggy trail before the trail climbs (south end)

Gaining elevation along the triple lakes trail

The second and third lakes along the triple lakes trail

The panoramic views are worth every ounce of effort

The trail on the north end heading toward Riley Creek

Crossing the forbidden bridge was oh so sweet!

The long-awaited bridge across Riley Creek (Aug 2010)

There are  many more photos in my gallery, see August 2009 and May 2010!

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