DescriptionThis short loop begins and ends at the Mountain Vista Rest Area, at Mile 13 of the Denali Park Road. Enjoy panoramic views of the Savage River Valley to the south, Mount Healy to the north, and (on sunny days) Denali to the southwest. Interpretive signs along the trail ilustrate how vegetation and development in the area have changed over time. Mid-way around the loop, a spur trail leads to the banks of the Savage River. The spur trail (not included in the statistics above) is short and adds less than a mile to the hike.
The trail passes through an ecosystem known as the transition zone, which is found at elevations between the taiga (or boreal forest, at lower elevations) and tundra (at higher elevations). Brush and scattered trees grow here and the open style of vegetation creates an opportunity for great views of the surrounding landscape.
AccessWithout a car (recommended): In summer (mid-May to mid-September), use the free Savage River Shuttle to travel from the park entrance to the Mountain Vista Trailhead. Pay close attention to the schedule to ensure you can use the bus to return to the park entrance after you finish hiking. The shuttle is highly recommended as available parking is extremely limited in summer.
With a vehicle: Drive 13 miles along the Denali Park Road, to the Mountain Vista Trailhead. Limited parking is available for cars and RVs, but frequently fills up in summer. The road is typically open from mid-February through fall (between late September and mid October, depending on weather). Unplanned road closures can occur at any time in spring or fall due to snowfall.
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Last updated: March 21, 2022