The Savage River Loop Trail is a flat, relatively easy trail – and my favorite spot (that I’ve encountered so far) in amazing Denali National Park.
The trail starts at the parking lot – and dropoff point for the Savage River Shuttle bus – and parallels the river for about a mile until it crosses the river on a wooden bridge, then heads back to the starting point on the opposite side. A simple trail, but it is beautiful. You’re never far from the river, which starts as a wide, briaded river at the beginning, then narrows into a well-defined channel further along the trail. Looking around, you’ll see mostly treeless terrain that juts up into rocky hills. Purple lupines and pink fireweed line the trail during the summer.
Lots of birds frequent this area, and you’re almost guaranteed to see small wildlife, mostly squirrels. You may even get lucky and spy a moose or a Dall sheep.
Time lapse video of the Savage River along the trail:
Directions: From the Denali Visitors Center, take the park road as far as you can go – to Mile 14. There is a small parking lot on the right before crossing the river. The parking lot is often full, so a good option is to park at the visitor center and take the free Savage River Shuttle courtesy bus to the final stop.