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 begins in late September, and runs until early May. For winter 2021-2022, the Murie Science and Learning Center will be open when local COVID-19 transmission rates are low.
Indoor Picnic Area
Next door to the winter visitor center is an indoor picnic area. It is open from September 27, 2021 to mid-March, 2022, regardless of local COVID rates. The facility serves as an information hub with brochures, trail maps, informational posters for trip planning and a few interpretive exhibits. Visitors to the indoor picnic area may also play park films while warming up. It 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. During the pandemic, federal facilities require masks, regardless of vaccination status. Please help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Alaska.
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.
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.
Bring your own equipment to the park. There is no equipment for loan in winter, nor rental options within 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.
Other Winter Activities
Last updated: November 9, 2021