Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 @ 9:00 AM

Kesugi Ridge Traverse & Half Traverse

Denali State Park, AK 30 Miler, 15.5 Miler

This Event Took Place Sat. Jun 22, 2019


Given the uncertainties created by COVID-19, race organizers will continue to monitor state, local and national health mandates related to group gatherings, social distancing and travel as well as consult with its permitting agencies.
A decision will be made BY JUNE 15 whether to move forward with an August 29 race date, postpone or cancel the 2020 Kesugi Ridge Traverse. An announcement will be posted at that time on the Kesugi Ridge website, Ultrasignup race page and on social media.

Lottery Registration and Waitlist (TENTATIVE)

Lottery registration for the 2020 race will open at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 15, 2020 and close at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 19, 2020. A lottery is being instituted because both the Kesugi Ridge Traverse & Half Traverse reached capacity (50 entrants for each event) within 30 minutes in 2019.
THERE will be SEPARATE WAIT LISTS for the Full Traverse and Half Traverse. There is no charge for signing on to the waitlist; your credit card will only be charged if you are offered entry and accept it.
Click the green "Register" button (at the lower right of the banner photo) to enter the waitlist. You can monitor where you rank on the waitlist by clicking the Waitlist link on the bar beneath the banner photo.

Lottery Auto-Entry Stipulations

Provided they have an approved qualifier, the following will bypass the lottery and automatically receive entry to the 2020 Kesugi Ridge Traverse. Entry fees still apply and AUTO-ENTRANTS MUST STILL REGISTER BETWEEN JUNE 15-19.
— Top 2 male and female finishers from 2019 for both the full and half traverse
— Past champions of full and half traverse
— Select 2019 volunteers (as determined by race director)
— Race Director discretion (performance-based or for extenuating circumstances)

Lottery Registration & Waitlist Details

— Race entry is $65 (this includes the registration fee).
— Lottery registration opens at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 15 and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 19 (see details above).
—Those who qualify for auto-entry will be placed on the roster and the remaining spots will be filled by lottery.
—Lottery results will be announced June 21. A waitlist for lottery losers and others will open June 21 and waitlisters will be offered entry as spots become available. Those who register for the lottery without an approved qualifier will be automatically placed on the waitlist.
— Entrants who decide not to race should notify the race director as early as possible so that a waitlister can gain entry.
—No refunds are given.


Located in Denali State Park, the Kesugi Ridge Traverse point-to-point course starts at the Little Coal Creek Trailhead (Parks Highway Mile 163.9) and finishes 30 miles later at Byers Lake Campground (Mile 147). Starting at an elevation of 1,400 feet, the trail climbs steadily in the opening four miles to an alpine ridge with a high point of 3,500 feet. The trail is marked with cairns in most places.
When visibility allows, views of the Eldridge Glacier and Denali, the largest peak in North America, are prominent.

Near halfway, the Ermine Hill Trail comes in from the right (elevation 2,300 feet). The Kesugi Ridge HALF TRAVERSE course (about 14.2 miles) ends a short distance uphill from this junction at a rock formation called "The Doors." After their race, Half Traverse participants take the Ermine Hill Trail 3.5 miles back to the Parks Highway at their leisure. The Ermine Hill Trailhead is at Mile 156.5. A shuttle will then transport runners to Byers Lake Campground (or Little Coal Creek if necessary).

Beyond "The Doors," the FULL TRAVERSE descends to 1,500 feet before it climbs back above treeline, passes Skinny Lake and reaches almost 3,000 feet at Golog Point near Mile 20. Around Mile 25, the course begins a long, switchbacked descent to Byers Lake via the Cascade Trail. The course ends in the Byers Lake Campground (elevation 800 feet) with food, drinks and awards. The total elevation gain is 6,200 feet and elevation loss is 6,800 feet.

Be aware this is not a race for beginners. Long-distance trail running experience is a must. Scouting the course is highly recommended. Past races have featured rain, snow, cold, heat, and limited visibility. Sections of the course are extremely technical and can be swampy.

The Kesugi Ridge Traverse & Half Traverse is a USATF sanctioned event.

Qualifying trail

Participants for the KESUGI RIDGE TRAVERSE must have completed at least one of the following since 2017 at a pace within the Kesugi race cutoff pace: Kesugi Ridge trail, Crow Pass Crossing, Resurrection Pass Trail, Lost Lake Trail, Matanuska Peak Challenge, Granite Tors, Angel Creek 50 or a comparable race.

Participants for the KESUGI RIDGE HALF TRAVERSE must have completed 15 miles of one of the above trails since 2017, or 15 miles race of a comparable race, at a pace within the Kesugi race cutoff pace.

Those uncertain about whether they are qualified should consult with race director Matias Saari.

Mandatory Gear

Participants for both the Kesugi Ridge Traverse & Kesugi Ridge Half Traverse must wear or carry the following gear: windbreaker, long-sleeved shirt, pants or tights, winter hat, gloves, race bib, sustenance and water bottle.

Age requirement

Entrants for both the Kesugi Ridge Traverse & Kesugi Ridge Half Traverse must be at least 18 years old on race day.

Time Cutoff

The Kesugi Ridge Traverse has a time cutoff of 4 hours, 5 minutes at the Ermine Hill Checkpoint and 9 hours, 10 minutes for the finish.
The Kesugi Ridge Half Traverse has a time cutoff of 4 hours, 5 minutes at the Ermine Hill finish line.

More Information

Much more information about the Kesugi Ridge Traverse & Half Traverse can be found at


Volunteers are needed! Key volunteers will receive free entry for 2020. Contact race director Matias Saari at if you can volunteer.

Local time: 4:11 PM


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