Photo Credit: Dhilung Kirat

Travelers who are planning on embarking on a vacation to the state should remember one thing: Alaska is huge. Even if it were cut in half, Alaska would still be the largest state in the U.S. Therefore, different parts of the region have their own distinct weather patterns and climates. Though there are indeed tracts of land where the snow seemingly never stops falling, the climate at attractions like Denali National Park tends to be much more agreeable.

For example, the weather in the interior of the state is typically pretty mild, but it still offers some of warmest days in the state. During December and January, temperatures usually hover around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. However, by June, July and August, the temperature in the interior can rise to around 70 degrees, making it the ideal time to visit this region. The proper clothing for this area depends on the season. If travelers are going here in the winter, warm clothing such as jackets, hats and gloves will be necessary. The summer months will require lighter clothing, such as jeans, short-sleeve shirts and maybe a windbreaker.

In the northern areas of Alaska, there tends to be some of the coldest temperatures in the state, as it can drop to about -20 degrees in January through March. The best time for traveling here, and also the warmest months in this region, are June through August, with temperatures reaching around 35 to 45 degrees. At any time of the year, people who travel to the north of Alaska should bring sweaters, hats, gloves, jackets and warm boots.

People who venture to the inside passage of Alaska will find that it has fairly cool temperatures. During the winter months, such as December and January, temperatures are usually around 20 degrees. Then, during the summer, visitors can expect to find temperatures between 45 and 60 degrees, making it the perfect time for a trip here. The weather in the southern part of the state is fairly similar, with the difference being that the winter months here can mean temperatures that are at or below freezing. Generally, the weather in both of these regions will demand clothing such as jeans, both long- and short-sleeve shirts and a light jacket.

Though the park does endure a long and frigid winter, its growing season from mid-May through mid-September can be actually quite comfortable in Denali. With an average temperature hovering near the mid 60s (with highs as much as 75 degrees) and frequent rains, even the warmest months will be rather pleasant.

It is important to note, however, that the climate in the area can shift very quickly. Guides have been known to tell visitors that they can expect, sun, rain, wind and clouds all within the same day. It’s also not unheard of to see snow in July, though that may be more in line with Alaska’s reputation than the warmer days.

Those adventurers considering tackling Mount McKinley will definitely want to prepare for the cold, as temperatures recorded at the Alpine Club’s weather station can dip as low as negative 22 degrees in July.

Another thing that travelers must consider is how many hours of daylight there will be during the season in which they choose to visit. In all regions of the state, as the weather gets warmer, the number of daylight hours increases. Typically, the sun is in the sky for between four and eight hours during the winter and between 16 and 24 hours in the summer.