Savage Alpine Trail


Trail photos

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Trail stats

4.79 mi
Elevation gain
1,362 ft
Technical difficulty
Elevation loss
1,529 ft
Max elevation
4,156 ft
Min elevation
2,568 ft
Trail type
One Way
3 hours 37 minutes
August 5, 2022
June 2022
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near Denali Park, Alaska (United States)

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Trail photos

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Itinerary description

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Interesting half-day route in Denali National Park that allows you to enjoy the grandeur of the park's mountains, meadows, and rivers, with the possibility of seeing wildlife, even without entering the restricted area of Park Road. If the day is clear, as ours was, you may be lucky enough to enjoy views of Mt. Denali (6,190m).

Before leaving, we stopped by the Riley Creek Mercantile to pay the park entrance fee, left the car in the Bus Depot parking lot, and went to the bus stop to catch the free bus that runs the first few miles of Park Road. We got off at mile marker 12.8 in Mountain Vista, next to Savage River Campground.

We cross Park Road to the north and take the start of the Savage Alpine Trail. We follow a well-marked path, which at first crosses a small forest, but soon emerges into a more open area, surrounded by bushes. We climb slightly each time with better views of the snow-capped mountains of the Alaska Range, including the majestic Mt. Denali.

After about 1.5 miles the trail turns to the left, steepens a bit more, and as we climb we get better views of the grasslands to the south, where we see several groups of elk and caribou. Like anywhere in Alaska, it's worth bringing binoculars to get a good look at the animals.

When we reach the highest part of the route, the landscape becomes rockier and there is still some snow, but we cross the remaining snowfields without any problems. In this area we find some arctic squirrels (arctic ground squirrels), which don't even hide when we pass...

We start the descent following the beautiful path along the top of the hill and then it will go directly down to Savage River. Before reaching the bottom, we cross an area of snowfields that must be passed carefully, just before going around Savage Rock and reaching the river. The trail ends at the parking lot at mile 15 of Park Road and we just have to cross the bridge to catch the bus back to the park entrance.


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