My wife and I spent two and a half days visiting Denali National Park—not nearly enough time. The park is vast, and we only had time to explore it foot briefly.
My favorite hike was to Horseshoe Lake, which is close to the park's entrance and the Nenana River. The lake is a calm and relatively small body of water nestled in a lush evergreen forest.
The hike is quite easy, with a round-trip distance of 2 miles and an elevation change of 250 feet (most of it descending down to the lake near the trailhead). Once you have descended, the trail takes you around the lake in a loop, after which you ascend the steeper section to get back to the trailhead. The trail was in good condition and is clearly marked.
A highlight of our hike was spotting a female moose working her way around the far edge of the lake, enjoying her meal of water grasses. We spent quite a bit of time watching her as we were quite close, and our view was unobstructed. Below is a short video of the moose's wandering.
There is an impressive beaver dam on one side of the lake and we were lucky enough to spot a beaver swimming near us.
We visited Denali around this time of year (late August) and there were a profusion of fungi growing on the forest floor. They were colorful although I'm sure many were poisonous.
We enjoyed this hike which even at a leisurely pace took less than 2 hours to complete. Recommended, especially for those who are hopeful to spot a beaver or moose close up.