Winter Activities

Denali is not closed in winter! This far north, winter is the predominant season. During this time, snow blankets the park, daylight disappears, and temperatures can plunge to a frigid -40 F (-40 C).

Even with the short days and chilly temperatures, there is still a lot to do here. Though the Denali Park Road typically closes at Mile 3 for several months, there is plenty to do for those prepared for the cold and outdoor recreation or sightseeing.

Winter Visitor Center

At Mile 1.4 on the park road is the Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC), which acts as Denali's winter visitor center. The winter season runs from late September until early May annually.

The Winter Visitor Center is the place to begin your winter visit to Denali. Learn about the park by exploring interactive exhibits and watching park films. Borrow snowshoes to take on the trails or pick up a Junior Ranger Activity Book. Rangers are available to answer questions and collect park entrance fees.

Indoor Picnic Area

Next door to the MSLC is the Murie Hall, which is open daily in winter as an indoor picnic area. This facility is open to the public from late September through mid-April annually and serves as an information hub and a warm place to relax and plan your next adventure. Visitors can watch park films, pick up brochures and trail maps, and browse informational posters for trip planning and a few interpretive exhibits.

The indoor picnic area has restrooms and a water bottle filling station. No food is available within the park. Bring food for your trip as the closest services are in Healy, 11 miles north of the park entrance.
 

Common Winter Activities: Skiing, Biking, Snowshoeing

Cross-country skiing, winter biking and snowshoeing are peaceful and rewarding ways to explore Denali, whether for an afternoon or a multi-day trip following sled dog trails or along the Denali Park Road.

Some of Denali's summer hiking trails are also good for skiing. Please note that winter biking is only possible on the Roadside Bike Trail and the park road; other summer hiking trails cannot be biked, in summer or winter.

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.

If you wish to do an overnight trip in the park, please review information on winter backcountry permits.

Explore the park's Sled Dog Kennels in winter. Open hours are hosted by a ranger on Saturdays and Sundays from 1–4 pm, except for major holidays.

Snow Conditions

Please be prepared for all conditions and contact the park with any questions you may have about trail conditions and winter recreation in Denali. Snow cover in Denali can range from excellent to nonexistent and temperatures can range from 40 F to -40 F in the winter.

Equipment

Snowshoes are available to borrow from the Winter Visitor Center. For all other gear, bring your own equipment or rent it in Fairbanks or Anchorage before traveling to Denali. There are no local rental options in the Denali area in the winter.

Leave No Trace

The Leave No Trace organization published great guidelines in 2015 for enjoying untrammeled areas in winter while minimizing impacts on the underlying landscape. Learn more about Leave No Trace principles and backcountry snowsports.


 

Winter Highlights

  • a man and woman hike using snowshoes

    Explore the Winter Trails

    Whether you're skiing, biking, snowshoeing, or just looking for a winter hike, check out a map of winter trails to plan your trip!

  • a park ranger speaks to a young woman at a desk

    Winter Ranger Programs

    Use our calendar to discover if any ranger-led activities will occur when you visit.

  • a snow-dusted forest and mountains

    Driving into the Park in Winter

    Most of the park road is closed in mid-winter. However, in fall and from February onward, visitors may drive 13 or more miles into the park.

 

Other Winter Activities

  • two dogs attached to a person skiing

    Mushing and Ski-joring

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

  • green aurora borealis in a dark night sky

    Aurora Viewing

    The aurora, or northern lights, can be seen periodically in the Denali area.

  • a yellow tent pitched in a snowy field

    Winter Camping

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

  • ice sculpture of a sheep's head

    Winterfest Celebration

    Every February, Denali and the surrounding community host a winter festival, celebrating Alaska's longest season.

  • a person riding a snowmobile in a snowy, mountainous landscape

    Snowmachining

    Certain areas of the park are closed to off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles, but other areas open when snow cover is sufficient.

Last updated: April 14, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park , AK 99755

Phone:

907 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am—4 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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