This is on of my favorite day hikes in the heart of Denali National Park.

The best time of year to do this is when the weather is cold and the river is low. I have had the best luck in late spring and early fall. If it's raining or really hot this hike won't be doable because the river will be impassable without a pack raft or a high skill level of river crossings.

Start at the Toklat River Contact Station, aka the tent. From the tent walk back along the road and over the bridge toward the east branch of the river. I find that this branch of the river is the easiest to cross because it is much more braided. If the water is really low it really doesn't matter where you go as long as you are heading toward the base of Divide mountain.

As you make your way across the river head straight for the north ridge of the mountain. Keep an eye our for wildlife as this is a great area for bears, caribou, and wolves. Once you make it to the base of the mountain start hiking up the tundra until to find yourself walking on the ridge. From there it is a straight shot to the top with a small class 3 scramble for about 10 feet. At the top continue walking south for the best views both units 9 and 10 and you even have a great view of Denali if it is out. This is where you will also drink your summit soda. Summit view: nps.gov/dena.

Getting down is my favorite part. Continue walking south and make your way toward the saddle between divide and the mountain to the south. As you descend about 25-30 off of the summit look for the scree chutes to the west. These chutes are about 1500 ft long and you are able to descend extremely fast. Once off the chute you will be back on tundra and on the west side of the mountain. From there you will need to continue down to the river bar and make your way back to Toklat. I recommend walking along the river and look for ways to cross. If the river is too difficult to cross it will eventually lead you back to where you originally crossed over. If you find an easy way to cross, take it and you will be able to make a straight line for the bridge and back to the tent where you can pick up the bus to head home!

Pack List

  • Gaiters
  • Poles
  • Summit soda
  • Rain gear
  • Gloves for scree skiing
  • Camera
  • Usual suspects for a day hike
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RT Distance 6 Miles
Elevation Gain 2600 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Features
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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