Woman standing looking at Denali Peak from K'esugi RidgePanoramic views from K'esugi Ridge in Denali State Park, AlaskaWoman backpacking on K'esugi Ridge in AlaskaAlaska. Mountains and forests.Wildland Trekking guide on Alaska backpacking tripA backpacking tent and backpack on K'esugi Ridge in Denali State Park, AlaskaBeautiful rock formations on K'esugi Ridge in AlaskaGorgeous lake and Denali Peak from K'esugi Ridge, AlaskaFemale backpacker on K'esugi Ridge in Denali State Park, AlaskaDenali at sunrise from Kesugi Ridge with backpacking tent in foreground

Classic Alaska Backpacking Adventure

Anchorage, AK

Trip Highlights

  • Views of Denali
  • Iconic Tundra Hiking
  • Alaska Range Views
  • Lakes & Rivers
  • Amazing History
  • Iconic Wilderness


This unforgettable backpacking adventure traverses an alpine ridge with dramatic views of the surrounding Alaskan wilderness and the famous Alaska Range. Known to Athabaskans as ‘The Ancient One’, the ridge we traverse boasts better views of Denali than any other trail in the state of Alaska. At 20,310 feet, Denali is North America’s tallest mountain, and one of the coldest mountains in the world. The climate surrounding its summit is notorious for hiding the mountain from view much of the time. When the weather permits, this trip provides unobstructed views of of the mountain – towering almost 17,000 above us – every single day as we hike.

Beyond its views of Denali, this trip embodies the vastness, grandness and breathtaking, wild beauty that has made Alaska iconic. We hike across rugged tundra, past lakes and rivers, and above the forests, river deltas and vast expanses of wilderness that characterize Alaska. Join us for an adventure you’ll remember forever!

Read more …
From USD
$2065 Per Person
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 1-6 Guests
Trip Length: 5 Days
Distance: 31MI / 50KM


Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

This trip is between Level 3 and Level 4 difficulty, erring slightly toward Level 4. The most difficulty is on Day 1, with elevation gain of 2500 feet over 8 miles. The rest of the trip has moderate daily distances and elevation changes, and trends downhill.

Hiking Distances:

Up to 8 miles

Backpack Weight:

35-45 pounds


Moderately Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

Up to 2500 feet

Heights Exposure:


Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information. Backpack Weight ratings are estimates that account for Wildland-provided gear, guest clothing, personal items and a share of group food. By packing light it’s often possible to stay on the lower end of the weight range. Pack weights also decrease during the trip.


  • Hiking uphill and downhill with a 35-45 lb backpack for 5-7 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on moderately rugged terrain
* For an official and complete list of physical requirements, please see our Essential Eligibility Criteria.


1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Alaska backpacking adventure a solitude 4. You can expect to see a couple other groups of hikers per day.


Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 


  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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Day 1

  • Shuttle to Trailhead: 3 hours
  • Hiking Distance: 8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2500 feet

This morning your guide will pick you up at your hotel in Anchorage and we’ll enjoy a quick breakfast. Our journey takes us north of Cook Inlet along the Susitna River Valley towards the Alaska Range. At our trailhead along a pristine mountain creek tumbling down from the mountains we begin with a steep ascent of the north side of the ridge we will follow for the next 5 days. We will ascend above the trees into the alpine tundra, where we are rewarded with 360 degree views of the surrounding wilderness, which includes Denali. Arriving at camp we will have breathtaking views of Eldridge Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in North America. After setting up camp we’ll settle in for the night and enjoy our first delicious dinner prepared by your guide.

Day 2

  • Hiking Distance: 6.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 900 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1400 feet

Continuing south this morning we will reach points on the ridge with two massive mountain ranges on either side of us. To the east is the Talkeetna Range. To the west is the Alaska Range and Denali.  You may have to continue pinching yourself as you hike, to remind yourself this is real – that you really are hiking through a place this dramatic and beautiful! Camp tonight will be at an area with fascinating geology and, of course, more spectacular views.

Day 3

  • Hiking Distance: 4-5.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 900 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1600 feet

Today we briefly descend a low point on the ridge and enter a forested wetlands region for a change in scenery, as well as a chance to see more wildlife. However as we approach a beautiful mountain lake, we will again return to hiking above tree line where the “freedom of the hills” abounds.

Day 4

  • Hiking Distance: 4-5.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 600 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1200 feet

For our last full day we continue across the tundra, soaking up the breathtaking views that surround us in all directions. We pass the pristine alpine lakes and tranquil pools of the high country, and we’ll keep an eye out for moose and other wildlife. Tonight we’ll celebrate our final night in the backcountry with our last hot dinner on the Alaskan tundra!

Day 5

  • Hiking Distance: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 600 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 2200 feet
  • Shuttle to Anchorage: 3 hours

Descending from the ridge this morning we will take in our last views of the majestic Alaska Range. Arriving at our terminus at the shores of a gorgeous lake, we’ll have one last picnic lunch and make the return journey to Anchorage.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

Trip Dates & Booking


Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book


This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast


This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation


This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • Bear canisters for food storage
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • Comprehensive, roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Anchorage and back
  • All entrance fees, permits and passes
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (see recommendations)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

Meals: What to Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

Guest Packing List

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

How Do I Register?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

Your guide will conduct an orientation meeting at 6:00 PM the evening before your trip begins to review the packing list, communicate the first day’s logistics and answer any last minute questions you have. This will take place at the Courtyard by Marriott Anchorage Airport.

Early on the morning of Day 1 your guide will pick you up from your accommodations in Anchorage.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Travel to Anchorage

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and its connecting flights from many major US cities make Anchorage very accessible. The major airlines that fly to Anchorage are Delta, United, American, Alaska Airlines and Sun Country. Direct flights are often available from Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Chicago and Las Vegas.

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s pick-up time. Generally, you can expect it to be around 5:30 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

Safety Precautions

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Essential Eligibility Criteria

Essential Eligibility Criteria (“EEC”) have been specifically identified to help you understand the skills and abilities necessary to participate on each Wildland trip, and they apply uniformly to all potential trip participants, irrespective of the presence or absence of any disability.

Once you identify a trip in which you may be interested, please carefully review the EEC and itinerary details. If after reviewing the EEC that apply to your desired trip, you determine you need an accommodation in order to meet the EEC, please contact us prior to registering to discuss your requested accommodation.

The EEC exist for your own safety and the safety and enjoyment of all participants. If you are unable to meet the EEC for the trip, with or without an accommodation, you are not eligible for that trip. If you register and arrive for a trip for which you do not meet the EEC, you will be disqualified from participation on the trip and will be dismissed or evacuated from the trip without a refund.

Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time…etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides’ off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions on this trip are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Weather in Alaska

This trip covers a dramatic diversity of terrain from coastal areas to mountains and tundra to glaciers. The weather will be largely dependent on which ecosystem you’re at the moment hiking in, so it’s best to be prepared for a range of temperatures and conditions. Read below for average high and low temperatures in different parts of Alaska:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
2.42 in
5.2 in
3.12 in
7.1 in
3.01 in
8.8 in
1.74 in
13.3 in



Backcountry Sleeping

Tent Camping

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

Backcountry Cuisine

Fresh & Delicious

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

View of Denali Peak from K'esugi Ridge in Denali State Park, Alaska

Amazing Campsites

View of Denali Peak from K'esugi Ridge in Denali State Park, Alaska
In the Action

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

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