The Horseshoe Lake/Nenana River hike was my favorite in Denali National Park, even though part of the trail was under renovation. The dirt and rock path wound through spruce and willow trees down to the banks of a pristine Alaskan lake, then further to the Nenana River.
The beginning of the trail crosses the railroad tracks so be aware especially if kids are in tow. But that also means that if you time your hike right, you could catch a glimpse of the train chugging above the horseshoe lake on its way to Fairbanks.
What I liked about this trail was the variety of things to see – trains, valleys, lakes, forest, beaver dam, river, sandy beach. What I didn’t like was hiking back up to the trailhead, the elevation gain was not fun.
Elevation Gain: Approximately 500 feet all at the beginning (and end)