The Savage River Trail | Denali National Park
Continuing to flash back to last August and September, another world really. I just read a journalist’s article on flying in this pandemic and how extremely nerve-wracking it is for everyone, somewhat post apocalyptic. I’m feeling fairly certain this big trip to Alaska was our last big trip for a a good while. And my flight to Florida back in January will be my last flight for several years. So going back to these posts and seeing life as normal, it makes me miss it all the more.
Our first stop after lunch on the day we arrived in the Denali area was to the Visitors Center to pick up trail maps and other information about the park. The Visitors Center was very busy with people planning trips on the various buses that travel through the park, others checking out the displays in the center, and folks looking for trinkets in the gift shop.
Soon we were on our way down the main park road to the furthest trailhead we could drive to in the park, the Savage River Loop Trail. There are a handful of trails in the front area of the park but in general the park service wants you to explore off trail. Find and area and just go!
On our way to the trail we drove slowly, looking for wildlife. We had our first encounters with a couple of moose, from a distance of course!
The trailhead parking lot was full when we arrived and we had to circle around a couple of times to wait for someone to leave. It was rainy and chilly for our hike along the trail so we layered up before heading down the trail.
We didn’t make it very far down the trail until we found a little alcove in the rocks with a fresh snowshoe hare kill by some predator! Lynx perhaps?
The trail is well trod and easy to follow as it ambles along each side of the river.
The overcast day really highlighted the color of autumn and only made me want to pile up in a cabin with large windows to look out while I sipped a cup of coffee and dug into a book! But we’d made the trek so of course we were going to pack in what we could of the sights while here.
Being as it was the end of the season there wasn’t much in the way of flowers blooming at this latitude but we did find one bloom that I later identified via iNaturalist as Mountain Harebell, Campanula lasiocarpa
Eliana in her happy place! Put her anywhere in Alaska and I think she’s good to go!
The rain started picking up a bit on our return trek on the other side of the river so we didn’t linger as long over there. It tapered off again when we arrived at the road and walked over the bridge to return to our car. The views were so gorgeous and I wished we had all the time to wander through the mountains in the distance, taking our time to backpack in to regions that see very little foot traffic. That will have to wait for another year!
Patrice La Vigne
I obviously love this post!! Savage River is probably my favorite hike inside the park, so glad you got to do it, even in the rain. The wildflowers in July are just so amazing, and extending to the Alpine portion makes it all even better. Did you get to explore downstairs in the visitor center? There’s all sorts of exhibits & displays? It’s such a great visitor center.
That trail is closed right now because there’s a grizzly feeding on some sort of carcass right now!!!