Denali National Park entrance area hikes

After catching the bus at the East Fork River and heading out, I set up camp in the Riley Creek campground which is near the entrance to the park. I took in some of the ranger programs and the displays, particularly at the Murie Science and Learning Center. I also did some of the short hikes that are easily accessible from the entrance area.

This is the McKinley Station trail, which connects the Visitor Center to the Riley Creek campground.

This is the hillside east of the park entrance.

A free shuttle takes you 15 miles in the park to Savage River, where there is a maintained trail. This is the Savage River.

The ridge above the river.

The Savage River as it heads north.

Looking upstream, you can see the maintained trail on each side in the foreground. It goes about a mile on each side, and there is bridge connecting them.

With more ptarmigan in the area. The while color on its lower part is migrating up as it changes color from the brown, which provides camouflage in the summer, to white, which does the same in winter.

Later that day, I was mentioning to a bus driver that the only major animal I hadn't seen was the moose. She told me that the 7pm Savage River shuttle goes through the moose terrain in the early evening, the best time to see them. I had ridden that shuttle earlier in the day for the hike above. So I rode it again in the evening, out and back, to see moose. And see moose I did. There were two large bull moose right off the road.

And a little farther down the road, one was farther off, but was framed perfectly by the fall colors.

A hotel just east of the park has a great location.

Another short hike near the entrance is to Horseshoe Lake. I did this on a ranger-led hike to get the info on the local ecology. Here is the lake from a viewpoint above.

These holes are squirrel dens for winter hibernation. They are in a huge pile of eaten acorns.

Watch a long 30 second video (14 MB) of a red squirrel in a tree throwing acorns down.

Horseshoee Lake

A tree partially knawed through by a beaver.

A beaver lodge in Horseshoe Lake.

Rock Creek trail, near the Visitor Center.

Aspens from the Rock Creek trail.

Continue to the Alaska Railroad trip south to Anchorage