CD4+ T cell responses are crucial for the control of many intracellular pathogens, yet the requirements for their induction are not fully understood. To better understand the role that various dendritic cell (DC) subtypes play in CD4+ T cell priming, we compared in vivo T cell responses to skin inoculation of mice with infectious or UV-inactivated HSV type 1. Localized infection elicited a Th1 response that was primed in skin-draining lymph nodes involving Ag presentation by migratory dermal and lymph node-resident DC. However, expansion and Th1 differentiation was impaired in response to UV-inactivated virus (UV-HSV), and this defect correlated with a restriction of Ag presentation to migratory CD103- dermal DC. A similar differentiation defect was seen in infected mice lacking CD8α+ and CD103+ classical type 1 DC (cDC1). Finally, Th1 differentiation after UV-HSV inoculation was rescued by targeted Ag delivery to CD8α+ and CD103+ cDC1 using an anti-Clec9A Ab construct. This suggests that Ag presentation by cDC1 is crucial for optimal Th1 immunity to HSV type 1 infection and potentially other pathogens of the skin.