Breathtaking Fall Colors of Denali National Park

Denali Peeks Over Willow Ridge

Sometime between late August and early October, Fall settles into Denali National Park, and much of the vegetation transforms from a lush green into a mix of deep amber, red, and orange hues. While Fall lasts three months on the calendar, in Alaska the season reveals itself as a quick two to three week transition between Summer and Winter.

Denali Backdrops Deep Fall Colors

A Guest Enjoys Crisp Fall Weather

Summer crowds in Denali are typically light compared to other national parks, especially past mile 14. During the final few weeks of the season, crowds are often even lighter. Since many lodges and tours in and around Denali close up in mid-September, the natural look of the park can feel even more unoccupied and exclusive.

One Of Many Valleys In The Park

Many of Denali’s most iconic photo spots change into bold and bright landscapes of golden hills often back dropped by layers of blue sky and dramatic white and gray clouds. If you’re fortunate enough to see rain during a partly sunny day in Denali, rainbows may even make an appearance to add even more color to the picturesque views.

A Rainbow Stretching Over A Mellow Stream

In the final weeks before winter, animals in the park are foraging for food, stocking up on energy before they hibernate or migrate for the season. Since Denali Park sits in the rain shadow of the Alaska Range, the park tends to receive less snow than other parts of Alaska, and many animals and wildlife like to make it their home during the winter.

Bears Foraging Before Hibernation

A Caribou On A Brisk Fall Morning

Sometimes snow starts to cover the landscape in late August before the busses stop touring through Denali. Other years, snow doesn’t show up until October, after most visitors and staff have left. The wilderness of Alaska is always changing with the seasons, and Fall just happens to be a brief period when those changes show up in bright yellow colors.

3 thoughts on “Breathtaking Fall Colors of Denali National Park”

  1. Alaska is beautiful. We’ve been up there in spring, summer , fall. Summer in Fairbanks is my favorite. Would love to go back one day as we have family there.

  2. What are the best dates to see fall colours in your area in 2020. When do you close for the winter? Is travelling by road still possible in mid September. Are restaurants and parks open later than mid September?
    Any other info you have for me I would appreciate.

    1. Kantishna Roadhouse

      It’s hard to predict exactly when Fall colors will show, but they typically will show in late August through September for 2-4 weeks before the snow starts. For 2020, we’ve reduced our season to just August 1st-18th due to the ongoing pandemic, but most seasons we stay open until mid September.

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August 24, 2021 National Park Service Announcement
Denali Park Road Closed To All Traffic beyond Mile 42

Due to the unsafe conditions posed by landslide activity the Denali Park Road is closed. The Kantishna Roadhouse is closed for the season. The Kantishna Wilderness Tours bus tour is operating on very limited capacity for tours to Mile 42 through Sept 12.

The Kantishna Roadhouse is an “inholder” business and we must comply with the National Park Service. We are dismayed and saddened that we cannot keep our business open for the remainder of the 2021 season. And, as you can see, we have no choice but to cancel all overnight reservations beginning August 24th and through the end of the season. We will be sending you a cancellation notice and crediting you with a full refund.

Thank you for your understanding. I fully understand that you wanted to be at the Kantishna Roadhouse, rather than reading this and making other plans.

Best Regards,
Marie Monroe, General Manager