Denali from Kesugi Ridge, Alaska

Alaska, Alaska Range, Denali, Denali State Park, Kesugi Ridge
Denali in the Clouds : Prints Available

When Denali is covered in clouds (which is most of the time) you can’t tell where the peak is or how big it is. But when the clouds break up and Denali emerges, its massive scale is mind-boggling, like a Himalayan peak got misplaced in Alaska. This is the view from Kesugi Ridge in Denali State Park.

In mid-August after looking at rainy forecasts in Alaska for weeks, there was finally a one-day window of sun in the weather forecast. We high-tailed it towards Denali and went on a quick one-night backpack trip up Kesugi Ridge, in Denali State Park just across the valley from Denali National Park. With clear weather the view of Denali from Kesugi Ridge is supposedly amazing; the question was, would the weather forecast pan out and the clouds clear enough for us to see the big peak?


6 thoughts on “Denali from Kesugi Ridge, Alaska

  1. Enjoying the trip reports! We were near Denali just before mid-August and saw nothing but clouds and rain from Talkeetna. Had scheduled a flight seeing tour of the mountain long ago, but had to fly down near Anchorage instead (still fine). So they say, February is the best month to see Denali. My son and I plan to go back soon to catch that.

    In Anchorage I hope you saw the museum, which had several great exhibits of native culture and modern views of Alaskan life.

    And don’t forget the water! We took a small boat cruise where every day was an adventure. The kayaking was endless and definitely worth doing again and again and again. Lots of bushwhacking too.

    1. Hi Andrew, yes, we got lucky to see Denali on that one day — the weather was socked in before and after that. In fact, the forecast was looking so grim we decided to not even go into the national park, which is kind of a shame! We did go to the native museum in Anchorage; it was cool to see all the replicas of the various traditional houses.

  2. Great pictures again. Denali looks so close from the Kensugi Ridge, even closer than pictures taken from Wonder Lake, (telephoto lens ?)

    Hey, do you know how lucky you two have been on this trip ( what we know so far): Mount Temple in great weather, not too much snow this year , Grizzlies at Fish Creek, perfect time of the salmon run, Grizzlies at a campsite, decent weather again in Kluane, it can rain quite a lot there and now a clear Mt. Denali.
    Most people would have to visit these areas many times to get at least one or two of these highlights. I know, all this would not be possible without your superb physical fitness, and maybe a beer or vino at the right time 🙂 you always took your chance when it came up, just great.

    1. Hi again Uwe! Yes, you’re right I shot that with a ~400mm lens, and Claudia was quite far away from me (on the other side of a little lake), which gives it that compressed-looking perspective. Denali actually does look pretty far away from Kesugi Ridge, so I made sure to bring my longest tele lens!

      It’s funny you mention our luck… I certainly agree that we did get lucky from time to time, but actually in my opinion this was by far the least productive trip I’ve been on photographically and backpacking-wise. We actually did have many down days in between trips, whether that was just from the sheer amount of driving distances, or waiting for days for rainy weather to hopefully pass. I figured out at one point towards the end of our 3.5 month trip that we had only been backpacking for something like 3 out of every 10 days, which is a really bad ratio for us! So for me it was frustrating at times. On this blog you only see the highlights, not all the down days in between! But you’re still right, despite the many down days I do feel lucky to have the great days we did. Especially on some of the later treks we did in September, which I still have to post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *