Denali National Park’s population swells each spring with an influx of seasonal employees. They work for the park service as rangers, visitor center and museum staff, groundskeepers, and other professionals, as well as in private tourism-related businesses. But a handful live here year-round and they see a different side of Denali in when most of the park's visitors have gone. Contrary to popular belief the park doesn't completely shut down during the winter.
Winter is an amazing season to visit Denali. The snow can be deep and temperatures are biting, routinely reaching -40 F (-40 C), but that's part of what makes this landscape so spectacular. On clear nights, there's a good chance you'll see the northern lights and the shorter days can be filled with skiing, hiking, snowmobiling, and dogsledding. Even winter camping is available for hardy souls. All it takes is some preparation and a sense of adventure to turn the "off-season" into a tranquil winter vacation.
Snow arrives as early as September and as late as November and hangs around until the end of April or even into May. Dog mushing is popular in the park and the trails start being set by rangers as soon there's adequate snow cover. March brings a warming trend and firm trails, which make for excellent cross country skiing.
One thing is for sure, you must be ready for extreme weather that can last for extended periods of time. Never travel into the backcountry without checking in with the ranger station or letting somebody know your trip plans. Good preparation is the key to a great adventure.