February Road Opening
It’s still mid-winter, but Denali is already gearing up for summer. The park’s road crew is preparing to start clearing snow off the Denali Park Road this month! Once plowing starts, those recreating beyond the road closure at mile 3 should use caution with heavy equipment traveling along the road. The goal is to have the Denali Park Road open to Mountain Vista at mile 12.5, and accessible to the public on February 15, 2024. The park will send an announcement to this list when it opens.
Denali’s weather is variable at the best times of year, and winter weather can be extreme. As a result, road access can close at any time due to deteriorating road conditions. Visitors can call ahead to the park’s information line 907-683-9532 for up-to-date road conditions and access.
Once the road opens to Mountain Vista, a reminder that commercial vehicles, or any business bringing clients to Denali, are not allowed beyond the Winter Visitor Center unless they have a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) for winter guiding in the park. Interested in what a CUA is or how to get one? Not sure what you can do with clients if you don’t have a CUA? Call the park’s information line or email Denali’s Commercial Services at .
Denali National Park and Preserve and the communities of the Denali Borough invite all who love winter to come and celebrate Alaska’s longest season at Winterfest 2024, on Saturday and Sunday, February 24 – 25. This long-running community-wide event features a variety of activities, with something for all ages, interests, and abilities!
Highlights for this free family-friendly weekend include youth ski races and activities, a guided snowshoe walk, visiting the Denali Sled Dog Kennels, a community dinner, a movie night, and more! Events will span the communities of McKinley Village,
Denali National Park, and Healy.
A full schedule of events will be posted at go.nps.gov/winterfest once times are confirmed. Please check back in a few weeks for more information.
Current Park Hours
Denali in winter can be captivating with its frigid beauty by day and aurora displays at night. Visitors this time of year should plan ahead by bringing all supplies – water bottle refills and flush toilets are only available at the Winter Visitor Center and Indoor Picnic Area during open hours, open daily from 9:30 am to 5 pm. The park website is an excellent resource for trip planning during winter.
Stop by the Winter Visitor Center to inquire about potential snowshoe, ski, or hiking routes. As conditions allow, the Roadside Bike Trail, McKinley Station Trail, and loops in the Riley Creek Campground are groomed for classic and skate skiing (dependent on route width). Hikers or snowshoers are encouraged to walk parallel to the ski track. Free snowshoe or ice gripper rentals are available from the Winter Visitor Center.
On Saturdays and Sundays, the Sled Dog Kennels is open to the public from 1 pm – 4 pm. Stop by to learn more about the winter work the dogs do and chat with a ranger.
Visitors seeking backcountry permits should inquire with staff inside the Winter Visitor Center during hours of operation. Plan to arrive before 4 pm to get a same-day permit, the process takes an hour.
Alaska Geographic bookstore sales are available inside the Winter Visitor Center. Only credit card payments are accepted. Online sales are available at Alaska Geographic (akgeo.org).
The Indoor Picnic Area (inside the Murie Hall) is open for daily use for self-serve movies, restrooms, and a warming area for picnicking. A microwave and hot pot are also available for visitors’ use.
Denali National Park and Preserve is a recreation fee site and entrance fees apply year-round.
The Park Road is currently closed at Mile 3 (Park Headquarters) to private vehicles. Visitors may recreate on the closed portion of the road.
Winter Travel Tips
Consider checking the aurora forecast and weather forecast before arrival in Denali to gauge the best possible days for seeing these extraordinary night displays. Setting an hourly alarm and alternating shifts with travel partners allow you to get a few winks and still keep an eye out for “the lights.”
The Park’s information phone line is answered daily 9 am – 4 pm at 907-683-9532.