Winter Activities

the American flag flies in front of the winter visitor center
Denali's winter-time visitor center is called the Murie Science and Learning Center

NPS Photo / Emily Mesner

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.

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 begins the third Wednesday after Labor Day each September, and runs until early May.
  • During the winter season, the MSLC is open daily from 9:30 am—5:00 pm, except major holidays.


Visitors can pay the park entrance fee at the Winter VIsitor Center. Also at the center, you can watch the park film, "Heartbeats of Denali," talk with a ranger about conditions on park trails, acquire a winter backcountry camping permit, borrow snowshoes and more.

Indoor Picnic Area

Next door to the winter visitor center is an indoor picnic area. It is open from October 5 to April 14 each winter. When open, its hours are the same as the winter visitor center. There is no food service available, so bring your own food and drink.

 

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 Bike Trail; 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.

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

  • The park offers free snowshoe rentals from the winter visitor center.
  • There are no ski or bike rentals, so be prepared to bring your own equipment to the park.

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.


 
 

Last updated: September 16, 2019

Contact the Park

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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