Mount Healy Hike in Denali National ParkPosted: October 5, 2011
At this point it seems pretty obvious that I am in love with Denali National Park. This past weekend was our third visit (not including our trip to Denali State Park) and every time I see the mountains on the horizon I start bouncing around in the car like a little kid on the way to an amusement park. Denali feels so Alaska. Mountains on all sides, big rivers, wildlife. Each time we go back the snow has crept a little further down the sides of the mountains, and the air is a little crisper. Winter is on the way.
Mount Healy is a beautiful hike. Unlike all of the other hiking we have done in Denali, this trail is right near the visitor center. It is the only trail so close to the park entrance that offers mountain views and a steady elevation climb. The park road is now closed for the season, so hiking near the entrance was the option, and Healy did not disappoint. The trail starts out following a small creek through spruce and aspen. The trail is wide in the beginning and feels like a stroll in the woods. Less than a mile in, the trail begins a steady climb to the summit of Mount Healy. The first look out is well below tree line and gives you an idea of what is coming: a view of the snow capped Alaskan range and the river valley below it. The trail continues to climb into alders and then finally, above the tree line. The trail changes over from roots to rocks and skirts the edge of the mountain. At each switchback the views are sweeping.
But my favorite part was when we got up to the final crest before the summit. The wind picked up, snow was speckled across the rocks, and the park road looked like a thin line of string below us. My friends were little dots up ahead and behind me. Perfect.
We ran out of time to reach the official summit but the views were still spectacular. Oh, Denali, how I love you.