It always seems like it is raining when I visit Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. In reality though, the rain is very light, and much of the park receives less than 10.4 inches a year making it desert-like in terms of rainfall. This is because the massive Alaskan Range, that includes some of the biggest mountains on the North American continent, blocks much of the wet moisture traveling north from coastal Alaska.
However the rain that does fall and the ability to see great distances, brings rainbows. What I love about the rainbows in Alaska is that the best ones come in the late evening light around 11 p.m. If there is any rain on the horizon in the late evening, it is worth peeking out of your tent. Darker backgrounds, and low horizon light guarantees a photograph worthy of a pot of gold. The above photo of an evening rainbow basking upon an unnamed mountain of the Alaska Range located in the upper Teklanika River valley in Denali National Park is an example. Use of a polarizing filter will bring out the rainbow’s colors even more. A favorite spot of mine for capturing late evening rainbows is at Wonder Lake in Denali. What’s good about the Wonder Lake area, is that you have vast unobstructed views of distant weather conditions.
For those interested in weather conditions at Denali, the National Park Service has a webcam at Wonder Lake that provides up-to-date views of conditions on the north side of Mt. McKinley (during the summer only), and year-round weather conditions at the park headquarters.
ABOVE: An evening rainbow basks upon an unnamed mountain of the Alaska Range located in the upper Teklanika River valley in Denali National Park and Preserve. The view is from the Igloo Creek Campground.