Tread lightly if you don't want to temporarily scare away the bounty of animals that inhabit this canyon.
Meander along the Savage River Loop Trail for a wonderful experience alongside the brutally cold, but stunningly beautiful Savage River. Nestled between a set of towering canyon walls, this area is perfect for those wishing to experience some of the abundant Denali wildlife for which this area is so well known.
Starting at the Savage River Loop Trailhead Parking Area, follow the trail north along the river's edge. After a mile of running, cross the river on a sturdy wooden bridge to its western side before heading back downriver to the trail's end.
While this trail is relatively flat, what it lacks in strenuous running, it makes up for in fantastic wildlife-viewing opportunities.
On trail, periodically look to the hillside, as numerous collared pikas and hoary marmots have been known to dwell in their rocky outcrops. Furthermore, in the springtime Dall sheep (identified by their coarse white fur and sickle-shaped horns) can often be seen roaming the canyon with their young. Lastly, towards the end of the trail, be mindful of the shrubby vegetation nearby, as ptarmigan love to roost among the plants.
After reaching the trail's end, the easiest way back to the parking area is to follow the wide dirt road south to Park Road, turn left, and then left again on the access road to Savage River Loop Trailhead Parking Area.
This content was contributed by author Ike Waits. For a comprehensive running guide to Denali National Park and to see more by Ike, click here
Keep your eyes peeled for Dall sheep, ptarmigan, collared pikas, and hoary marmots along the trail.