• pond surrounded by green brush, reflecting a distant range of snow-covered mountains that are dominated by one massive mountain


    National Park & Preserve Alaska

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  • Road Open to: Mile 15 (Savage River)

    The Denali Park Road is open to Mile 15, Savage River. Conditions beyond this point prevent vehicle travel, though pedestrian travel is permitted. More »

Aurora Borealis and Star Gazing


Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

The aurora is a beautiful, if hard to predict, phenomenon, occurring year-round. Only in the fall, winter and early spring, however, is there enough darkness to allow us to see the northern lights when they occur.

By the second week of August, the night sky is dark enough to potentially allow views of the aurora. The amount of darkness increases each night, as Denali turns farther and farther away from the sun.

Learn more about lightscapes and the aurora borealis.



With long hours of darkness, the fall, winter and early spring can be a fantastic time to view stars in Denali.

By the second week of August, roughly, the skies are dark enough to allow some great views of the night sky from midnight until two or three in the morning. Denali loses daylight rapidly in late August and September, so that you need not be a night-owl to enjoy the night sky by late September.

The long hours of darkness continue through early April, though by the end of that month the sun is making its stunning, and often welcome, return; and it eventually obscures all glimpses of the stars during the summer months.

image of star-lit sky over Wonder Lake
Clear, cold nights can be amazing opportunities to view stars when in Denali.
nps photo / jacob w. frank

Did You Know?

an arctic ground squirrel on its hind legs

Nearly 500 vegetation plots have been installed in Denali, to monitor climate change. Warmer temperatures allow woody plants to grow at higher elevations, invading the fragile and unique plants already in high alpine tundra - and threatening the animals that depend on those specialized plants.