Hiking the Mount Healy Overlook Trail at Denali National Park

Looking to hike the Mount Healy Overlook Trail in Denali National Park? In this guide we’re sharing what to expect along the trail!

Despite being 6 million acres, there are only around 35 miles of actual developed and maintained trails in Denali National Park and the Mount Healy Overlook Trail is one of the best!

With spectacular views of the Alaska Range, a glimpse down Parks Highway, and if you’re lucky, a little peak of the top of Denali, the Mount Healy Overlook Trail at Denali National Park provides some of the best mountain scenery that the park has to offer. 

Watch our video from exploring the first 15 miles of Denali National Park where we hiked the Mount Healy Overlook Trail!

And in this guide we’ll share everything you need to know before you hike the Mount Healy Overlook Trail in Denali National Park, including the different options for distance, what to expect along the trail, what to bring, and more!

Looking for more things to do in Denali National Park? 

Note: this guide contains affiliate links, which means that if you use the links provided and make a purchase, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. We will only ever recommend products we truly love, actually use during our adventures, and think you can benefit from too!

Mount Healy Overlook Trail Stats

Distance (round trip): 6.9 miles (closer to 5.2 miles if you do not go to the summit)
Elevation:  2,483 feet (closer to 1,700 feet if you do not go to the summit)
Reviews & Current Conditions

The Mount Healy Overlook Trail is located within the first 15 miles of Denali National Park and Preserve in central Alaska. This means that you can access these hikes on your own and with your own vehicle!

It is one of the longer established trails in the front of the park and is a bit steep, but the distance and elevation gain listed above is a bit deceiving, as those numbers go to the actual Mount Healy summit, which is past the Mount Healy Overlook.

The majority of hikers will only go to the Mount Healy Overlook, which is closer to 5.2 miles round trip and 1,700 feet of elevation gain. You can continue on to the actual summit, which is closer to 7 miles round trip, but this portion of the hike is not maintained and is extra steep and rocky, so proceed with caution if you choose to hike it.

Want to learn more about Denali National Park? Check out our ULTIMATE guide to Denali National Park, where we share all of the important things you need to know, such as the different areas, where you can and cannot drive, where to stay, and the best things to do in Denali!

Getting to the Mount Healy Overlook Trail

The trailhead for the Mount Healy Overlook Trail is on the west side of the visitor center parking lot. You can park anywhere in the visitor center parking lot and then walk here, where you’ll then cross the street to access the start of the trail. The visitor center has tons of parking and we never saw the lot full!

You could also start from Horseshoe Lake Trailhead and instead of going right to Horseshoe Lake, go to the left, but this will add some distance to the hike.

Things to know before hiking the Mount Healy Overlook Trail

Mount Healy Overlook Trail | Visiting Denali National Park | Things to do in Denali National Park

While this hike is pretty straightforward and easy to follow, as long as snow isn’t present, there are still a few key things to know and consider before hitting the trail. 

Dogs are not allowed

Just like the rest of Denali National Park, dogs are not allowed on this trail. If you’re curious what we do with our dog Kona when we explore the national parks, you can read all of our tips and methods in this blog post. For this hike she just napped in our van, since it was cool enough out to leave her for a bit.


There are restrooms at the visitor center that you can use before this hike!

For the best experience hike on a clear day

The weather in Alaska can change at the drop of a hat, but if you can hike this on a clear sunny day you’ll have a really good chance of seeing the mountain and better views of the Alaska Range and surrounding area!

However, we did hike this on a clear day turned cloudy and it was still beautiful with clouds off in the distance! And we even got a teeny tiny glimpse of Denali, which you can see above!

How long does the hike take?

This hike took us a total of 3 hours, including a break at the top, where we chatted with other hikers for a bit.

Our experience hiking the Mount Healy Overlook Trail

Mount Healy Overlook Trail | Visiting Denali National Park | Things to do in Denali National Park

We hiked the Mount Healy Overlook Trail after a busy morning of hiking the Savage Alpine Trail and Savage Alpine Loop Trail, so we were a bit pooped. But we were trying to take advantage of our one guaranteed nicer day in the park and wanted to do all of the mountainous hikes we could!

We started the hike from the visitor center and shortly after getting on the trail, there will be a couple junctions. For the first, go towards the right and for the second, go towards the left. The trail is well marked, so it is easy to follow!

Mount Healy Overlook Trail | Visiting Denali National Park | Things to do in Denali National Park

This will put you on the actual Mount Healy Overlook Trail. As soon as you’re on it you’ll cross a bridge over a stream and then the climb really begins. We aren’t sure if it’s because we had already hiked a good amount that morning or if the trail is just steep, but it felt pretty steep to us. 

Mount Healy Overlook Trail | Visiting Denali National Park | Things to do in Denali National Park

Unlike the Savage Alpine Trail that we had done that morning, which was mostly in alpine terrain, the first 2.4 miles of the Mount Healy Overlook Trail are in the trees, with the occasional views. But once you get past 2.4 miles, the views really open up and make it worth the climb!

For the last stretch of the hike you’ll get a glimpse of the views you can expect from the top and just a short amount of hiking later you’ll reach an open, rocky area, which marks the end of the maintained portion of the trail.

From here you’ll have 360º views of the neighboring mountains, which are stunning! The mountains range from a brown color, to blue, to green, to gray. They are all a bit different, making the view extra beautiful!

You can also see the highway down in the valley, plus the river, and if you hike on a clear day, you’ll see the top of Denali! By the time we got to this hike some clouds rolled in, so Denali wasn’t super clear, but we could still see part of it!

As we mentioned above, you will come across a sign that says “end of maintained trail.” You can continue on from here to the actual summit, but from this point forward the trail is not maintained and it’s a pretty steep climb. We were too tired to continue on, but hope to try this next time! 

Mount Healy Overlook Trail | Visiting Denali National Park | Things to do in Denali National Park

Overall we really enjoyed this hike, even if it did kick our butts a bit! However, as great as this trail is, if you only have time for one longer hike in the first 15 miles of the park we’d suggest the Savage Alpine Trail before hiking this trail. That’s not to say that this hike isn’t beautiful, because it totally is! But we just personally enjoyed the Savage Alpine Trail slightly more, as it had more views on the way up and less trees to hike through. Plus the view of Denali from the Savage Alpine Trail was more head on and you could see more of the mountain!

When to hike the Mount Healy Overlook Trail

Mount Healy Overlook Trail | Visiting Denali National Park | Things to do in Denali National Park

Denali National Park is technically open year-round, but as you may expect with the park being in Alaska, the park gets a lot of snow (55 inches of snow fell within a 7 day period this past December!) and most of the park is inaccessible for the majority of the year. But since this trail is so close to the beginning of the park, this section of the road is almost always maintained and snow free. 

So with that said, for a snow free experience, we’d suggest visiting between May 20 and September 14, which is when the 43 open miles of the park road will be accessible and the buses will be operating (these exact dates may vary, but those are the 2023 dates). If you’re happy to hike with snow then this is a great trail for snowshoeing. 

By visiting during this timeframe, you’ll be able to experience mostly snow free trails (there may be some lingering snow), go as deep into the park as currently allowed, camp within the park, and take advantage of park amenities, like the visitor center.

As for the weather in the summer, temperatures can range from the 30s at night and early in the mornings to the 60s-70s during the hottest part of the day. However, one thing to be aware of is that June-August is the rainy season at Denali National Park, so make sure to be prepared for some rain and even the off chance of some snow. 

Another thing to know is that fall in Alaska starts at the end of August, so if you visit towards the beginning of September, you’ll have a good chance of seeing some fall foliage in the park, which looks stunning!

We visited around June 17-20, 2022 and had one very sunny day, a couple partly sunny days, and a couple cloudy days with the occasional quick rain storms. We encountered very little snow on trails and the crowds also weren’t that bad either!

What to Bring to hike the Mount Healy Overlook Trail

To see everything we take hiking, check out our hiking gear as well as our guide about how to make a 10 essentials kit, but here are a few key items we want to point out that will especially help you when hiking in Denali National Park!

Hiking shoes

Kathryn rocks Lowa Women’s Renegade GTX on the trails and she LOVES them! Adam wears the ALTRA Lone Peak 6 Trail Running Shoe, which is a trail running shoe, so they are less bulky than boots, but still great for the trail. 


You’ll want to have lots of water on you for all of your adventures. We like to carry our 3L Camelbak bladders while on any hike, which makes it easy to store a lot of water and drink while on the go.


Weather in Alaska can be extremely unpredictable. One minute it feels like a cold, windy winter day and the next the clouds part, the sun is beaming, and it feels like summer. Carrying some layers with you helps you be prepared for a day in Alaska. 

Rain Jacket

Similar to above, it can rain or snow any day of the year so having rain gear is recommended. Kathryn wears the Patagonia Torrentshell jacket and Adam wears a Columbia rain jacket

Trekking Poles

Trekking poles can really be a big help, especially on off trail hiking. We have the Black Diamond Equipment Distance Z poles and highly recommend them!

AllTrails Maps

Cell service is very sparse in the park and we highly suggest downloading the offline AllTrails map for this hike. The trail is pretty straightforward, with not many chances to get confused on where to go, but we always suggest having the AllTrails map downloaded, just in case. 

Want to get 30% off an AllTrails+ membership? Click this link or use our code aplusk30 (you must redeem this code on the website, not the app)!

We use AllTrails+ on every single hike and it is the most helpful hiking tool out there! Some of the features we love are offline maps (so we can navigate even without cell service), wrong-turn alerts, and its 3D maps feature, so we can get a feel for trails before we hike.

Bear Spray

Denali National Park and Alaska are home to a variety of wildlife, including bears. Specifically, both black bears and grizzly bears, with grizzlies being the more aggressive of the two.

Although we didn’t see any bears in Denali National Park, you have a good chance of seeing one and carrying bear spray is highly recommended. We always had our bear spray strapped to our hip or chest when we were hiking on trails and even walking along the roadside trail with Kona.

Not only is it important to have bear spray on you, but you need to have it readily available and know how to use it. We’d recommend watching this video that explains how to use bear spray, if you aren’t familiar. 

Bug Repellent 

If you haven’t heard, the common joke is that the state bird of Alaska is the mosquito. Inland Alaska is definitely where they can be the worst and Denali National Park was one of the few areas in Alaska where we noticed mosquitoes. Make sure to bring bug spray with DEET! We also brought a Thermacell for camping and we think it helped some.

Sun Protection

Even though a lot of this hike is in the trees, the overlook area is completely exposed, so sunscreen and a hat will be very helpful! 


The vastness of Denali National Park is truly remarkable. You’ll be able to see very long distances, so carrying binoculars is a great way to get a closer look! We have the Bushnell H20 Roof Prism binoculars and we love them! 

Ready to hike the Mount Healy Overlook Trail in Denali National Park?

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Hiking the Mount Healy Overlook Trail at Denali National Park

about us

Hi y’all! We’re Adam, Kathryn, and Kona, an adventurous married couple (+ pup!) living on the road in our self-converted sprinter van! You can often find us driving all around the US and Canada, scoping out the best coffee shops, eating tacos and ice cream (we’re a 5+ taco and 2+ scoop household), and enjoying nature.


affilliate disclosure

This website contains affiliate links from websites such as MileValue.com, Amazon.com, Booking.com, and Rentalcars.com. If you use the links provided and make a purchase, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. We only recommend products we truly love, actually use during our adventures, and think you can benefit from too!


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