Denali AKA Mt. McKinley


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"The two-mile Savage River Loop is a mellow walk along the river. The surface is   
uneven and rugged in areas, but there is no significant elevation change."
~ Denali National Park hiking web page
There was a good chance of rain in the park today so I chose an easy hike where I wouldn't be any farther than a mile from the truck if the sky opened up.

Although it was raining on the way out to the river and I could see rain to the south while I was hiking, I didn't get wet.

The riverbed quickly narrows downstream from the road. The rock formation on the left
is the first (or last) one that hikers climb on the Savage Alpine Trail loop.

The biggest problem was the stiff wind, which was almost as bad as it was yesterday when I was hiking the Savage Alpine Loop in the same vicinity but up several hundred feet higher.

I did this riverside hike in both directions at least twice when we were here three years ago so I was familiar with the terrain and scenery. Some different flowers were in bloom this time since we're here a few weeks earlier in the summer but otherwise, everything looked similar to my previous hikes.

I parked on the far side of the river again and did the loop clockwise, ending with a walk on the long bridge across the broad riverbed.

Despite recent rainfall the multiple Savage River channels are not very full. This picture looks upstream from the bridge:

I wonder if all the gravel bars are ever covered with water? If the river gets that high, most of the trail I hiked today would be under water.

The river is also fairly low where it narrows to a few feet wide about a quarter mile downstream from the park road and through the canyon at the far end of the trail loop:


After half a mile the placid river -- which looks more like a creek at that point -- gets rockier and loses elevation more quickly, causing small rapids.

The trail also becomes a little rougher as the terrain morphs from wide valley to more narrow canyon:





It's about one mile on either side of the river to the little bridge above.

When we were here three years ago I hiked a faint trail to the left of the bridge that continues above the river through the canyon. It goes for another half mile or so before disappearing in the rocks.

View of the river as it flows into the canyon; photo taken from the little bridge.

Today I just crossed the bridge and returned to the road on the other side of the river:






Looking back

I had the trail mostly to myself. There weren't very many other hikers and I didn't see any caribou today. One of my hikes three years ago was very memorable for the caribou feeding by the river.

This little Arctic ground squirrel was the only critter I saw along the river today:

This is a good little hike that people of almost any ability can enjoy.

Next entrymiscellaneous photos from the Murie Science Center, park visitor center and bookstore, and Nenana Canyon bike path

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil