Unit 2: Riley Creek
Tips and Special Features
Dropping into Riley Creek from the northern and western-most lake on the Triple Lakes Trail (Unit 1) is also a good way to get into this unit. From there you can hike up Riley Creek to a series of alpine passes that can bring you into the Windy Creek (Unit 16), Savage River (Unit 4), or Sanctuary River (Unit 5) drainages. These are all near the headwaters of Riley Creek and afford spectacular views of Fang Mountain and other alpine scenery. These are high passes so you may need to travel across steep snow fields even in mid-summer. The low pass at the head of Riley Creek provides a natural travel corridor for crossing the Alaska Range. There are no steep ascents on this pass, but there is a lot of high brush. The pass leading to the Sanctuary River is more difficult. It is a long climb with sections of moderately steep scree. Passes into the Savage River drainage are on extremely steep slopes that require travel over areas of very steep scree or steep snowfields. Clouds and fog are common in the upper reaches of these drainages. Only groups competent in map reading and compass navigation should attempt these extended trips.
Did You Know?
Mount McKinley, located within Denali National Park and Preserve, is the highest mountain on the North American continent. Measured from the 2,000 foot lowlands to its snowy summit at 20,320 feet, the mountain’s vertical relief of 18,000 feet is greater than that of Mount Everest.