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

    Denali

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Winter Activities

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).
 
Skiing

  • Cross-country skiing is a peaceful and rewarding way to explore Denali, whether on an afternoon trip following sled dog trails, along the Denali Park Road, or on an extended trip into the backcountry.
  • Telemark skiing and snowboarding involve long climbs on foot, but are possible in good snow years. If you plan to travel in areas that present avalanche hazards, please have proper training and equipment. We encourage you to travel with a partner or a group.

Please be prepared for all conditions and call the park with any questions you may have about trail conditions and winter recreation in Denali (907-683-2294 daily, 9 am - 4 pm). Snow cover in Denali can range from excellent to nonexistent and temperatures can range from 40 F to -40 F.

While the park does offer free snowshoe rentals, there are no ski rentals - so be prepared to bring your own equipment to Denali. Fairbanks and Anchorage are the closest areas to buy/rent skis and other gear.
 
Snowshoeing

Different lengths of snowshoes serve different purposes. On occasion, you may encounter very deep snow, where long, wide snowshoes are quite effective. Or, you may find yourself traveling along an existing trail, across rougher terrain, or through brushy areas. In these cases, a shorter shoe with an up-turned toe is better for quick traveling.

At Denali, we have a limited number of snowshoes for visitors to borrow. There is no charge to use the shoes. You may check out a pair from the Winter Visitor Center.
 

Other Activities

A variety of other activities are possible in winter.

  • Mushing and ski-joring
    Visitors who own dogs are welcome to mush or ski-jor in the park.

  • Winter camping
    Hardy souls will find great winter camping opportunities, with the wilderness all to themselves.

  • Snowmobiling
    While certain areas of the park are closed to off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles, other areas open when snow cover is sufficient to prevent damage to the underlying tundra.

  • Winterfest Celebration
    Each February, the park and surrounding community celebrate the dominant season with a Winterfest Celebration


Did You Know?

a green hillside and a brown scar denoting where a landslide occurred

Warmer temperatures have led to dramatic thawing of permafrost. Thaw releases carbon, as once-frozen materials decompose, but allows increased plant growth. Researchers in Denali are studying whether thawing permafrost will increase or decrease world-wide carbon emissions.