Common misconception: Denali is not closed in winter!
Winter is an amazing and powerful season in Denali. For much of the year, Denali's landscape is blanketed in snow, its rivers and lakes locked in thick ice, its animals in hibernation, long-since migrated, or making the best existence they can in temperatures that routinely reach -40 F (-40 C). On clear nights, the aurora borealis might be seen. Winter camping is also possible for hardy souls.
Winter is outside the "normal" season for travelers, but that perhaps increases the rewards of a visit. Vehicle access into the park is limited, compared to the summer season. However, for someone seeking natural beauty, tranquility, and a challenge, winter in Denali can be a wonderful time.
Snow can begin accumulating as early as mid-September or as late as November. Snow and ice typically stick around through April, although an usually mild or harsh winter can make exact thaw and ice breakup unpredictable. Cross country skiing can be fantastic in March and early (sometimes even late!) April. Mushing conditions can vary, but the park kennels begin setting trails as soon as possible in early winter.
Did You Know?
Did you know that over 650 species of flowering plants as well as many species of mosses, lichens, fungi, algae, and others grace the slopes and valleys of Denali National Park and Preserve?