Weather and Climate

aerial view of clouds hanging over low mountains, with one huge snowy mountain towering above

NPS Photo / Ken Hill

There are two distinct climates in the park, separated by the Alaska Range. They differ not only in physical measurements, but also in the types of vegetation and landscape features they produce. The transitional maritime climate on the south side of the Alaska Range is influenced by the prevailing weather patterns of the Gulf of Alaska, with milder air temperatures with less seasonal variation and more precipitation. Temperatures in the northern regions of the park are typical of an interior climate with very warm summers and cold winters. Precipitation on the north side is relatively low.

Climate has a dominant influence on the ecology of Denali, and understanding the key relationships affecting climate patterns plays a critical role in understanding and predicting physical and ecological changes within the park. The most direct and profound effects are likely to include changes in temperature and precipitation.

Learn more about climate monitoring in Denali.
 

Denali Weather Statistics


We have a rich history of climate data from Denali. Park staff have been recording daily weather observations at a site near headquarters since 1925. This is one of the few sites in the state with such a long and valuable record. We use information from this site to place current weather observations into context by comparing them to “normal” conditions. A climate ‘normal’ is defined as the average climate over a 30-year period. The latest normal period is 1981-2010 (they are updated every 10 years). The entire record (1925-present) is used to identify the extremes.

Denali Park Headquarters – Average Annual /Seasonal Temperature and Precipitation

Season Preciptation (inches) Minimum Temp (°F) Average Temp (°F) Maximum Temp (°F)
Annual 15.06 17.8 27.8 37.9
Winter 2.09 -2.8 5.8 14.4
Summer 8.08 41.9 53.0 64.2
Spring 1.66 16.3 28.0 39.8
Autumn 3.23 15.3 24.0 32.7
 
a chart showing the average temp and precipitation ffor each month in Denali. the actual data of the chart is found in the table above
 

Denali Park Headquarters – Average Monthly Temperature and Precipitation

Month Precipitation (inches) Minimum Temp (°F) Average Temp (°F) Maximum Temp (°F)
January 0.63 -4.9 3.1 11.1
February 0.54 -2.1 7.6 17.3
March 0.39 1.2 13.4 25.6
April 0.40 16.4 27.9 39.4
May 0.87 31.2 42.8 54.4
June 2.15 40.6 52.8 65.0
July 3.22 44.6 55.6 66.7
August 2.71 40.4 50.6 60.9
September 1.70 30.6 40.4 50.2
October 0.78 14.2 22.9 31.6
November 0.75 1.3 8.9 16.5
December 0.92 -1.2 6.9 14.9

 
a bar and line chart illustrating how snowfall and snow depth in denali climb from september to december; snowfall then tapers off, while snow depth drops in april
 

Denali Park Headquarters – Average Monthly Snowfall Totals and Snow Depth

Month Snowfall (inches) Snow Depth (inches)
July 0 0
August 0 0
September 4.7 4
October 9.9 8
November 13.2 13
December 15.4 18
January 9.0 20
February 8.4 22
March 6.8 23
April 6.1 22
May 3.1 10
June 0.1 0
Annual Total 76.7 n/a

Denali Extremes – Park Headquarters

  • Record high temperature: 91°F on June 22, 1991
  • Record low temperature: -54°F on February 5, 1999
  • Most rain in a single day: 3.28 inches on July 24, 1967
  • Highest one day snowfall total: 33 inches on December 14, 1933
  • Most snow on ground: 56 inches on March 26, 1991
 
a huge snowy mountain
Note: We know that it is likely colder on the summit of Denali and other high peaks of the Alaska Range, and it definitely snows and rains more at higher elevations in the park, but we don’t have long, continuous records from these remote, hard to reach places. We can only calculate weather statistics and climate extremes from sites where we have good data.

NPS Photo / Emily Mesner

 

Last updated: March 23, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755

Phone:

(907) 683-9532
A ranger is available 9:30 am—5 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you get to the voicemail, please leave a message and we'll call you back as soon as we finish with the previous caller.

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