Either drive your own car or take the free shuttle 15 miles out the park road to the Savage River check station. This is a popular hiking trail, and you won’t be alone, but at least you’re away from the entrance area and entering the true wilderness of Denali National Park. This is a tundra walk on a developed trail that follows the river. Good hike for kids, with possibility of seeing Dall sheep, marmots, and caribou. You can do a loop walk, thanks to a bridge that crosses the Savage River just about one-half mile downstream.
This is a maintained trail up in tundra. If you opt to hoof it off the trail, going north, you're likely to see a whole different set of animals--marmot, pica, hare, ground squirrels, snowshoe hares--as well as alpine-zone flowers, such as azaleas or moss campion. Watch out for alder thickets, which can be arduous, and remember to make plenty of noise: bear encounters happen a lot around here.
Length: 2 miles round-trip
Elevation gain: Minimal
Time: About 1.5 - 2 hours but you’ll want to linger