5 Of The Best Places To See Northern Lights In Alaska

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Three Amazing Alaskan Vacations To Choose From!

Summer Trips To Alaska
Grizzlies & Glaciers Tour

Winter Trips To Alaska
See The Northern Lights

Summer Trips To Alaska
Denali Discovery Adventure

Denali Adventure in Alaska Vacation
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Can You See The Northern Lights In Alaska?

greena and purple ribbons of aurora borealis in Alaskan night skyMany people are surprised when they find out that you do not have to leave the U.S. to see the Northern Lights. In fact, Alaska is one of the best places in the world to see the Aurora Borealis! Here are three reasons why you should plan a trip to the best places in Alaska to view the Northern Lights:

  • It’s easy to get to Alaska! You can book nonstop flights to Anchorage year-round from most major U.S. hubs and arrive onsite in just a few hours. Or, you can fly into Fairbanks to start your Alaska adventure in the Far North. Even better – no passport is required.
  • You can enjoy seasonal activities during the day, and search the skies for the Aurora by night. If you book a Northern Lights viewing trip from mid-August to mid-September, you will still have time to enjoy summer activities like visiting Denali National Park or taking a glacier cruise. From mid-November through March, you can enjoy quintessential Alaskan winter activities, like dogsledding, cross-country skiing, ice-fishing, and so much more.
  • Odds are you will see the Northern Lights! Most tour guides will tell visitors that if they spend at least three nights looking for the Aurora, they have a 90 percent chance of spotting them.

When Is The Best Time To See The Northern Lights In Alaska?

Not only do you need to travel to Alaska’s best places to see the Northern Lights, but you will also need to know the best time of year to see this natural phenomenon. The best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska is from late August to mid-April when the nights are long and dark. During the summer months, the Midnight Sun illuminates the sky almost 24 hours a day, making it impossible to see the Northern Lights in the sky. But during the winter months, the long, dark nights create the perfect viewing conditions for this phenomenon. As long as the sky is dark and clear, you have a good chance of seeing the Aurora. Be on the lookout for this spectacle from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., when the Auroras are the most active!

Blue and Green ribbions of the Northern lights in Alaska

Finding The Northern Lights In The Night Sky

There is a science to finding the best places in Alaska to view the Northern Lights. It has to do with a phenomenon known as the Auroral Oval, which is the ring of geomagnetic particles that hover above the Arctic Circle. Solar activity affects this oval, which contracts (and becomes narrow) or expands (and becomes quite wide). If the solar winds are active, the Auroral Oval expands, and the interaction between the winds and the Earth’s atmosphere cause the Northern Lights to appear in the night sky. In Alaska, the Auroral Oval hovers just above Fairbanks. This means that Fairbanks and all points north are excellent places for northern lights viewing.

With this in mind, here is a list of 5 of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Alaska:

  • Fairbanks – known as one of the best places in Alaska to view the Northern Lights, Fairbanks is a little city with a big attitude! Most importantly, it’s easy to get to by plane, allowing easy access for visitors, and has a variety of lodging, dining, Northern Lights viewing tours, and outdoor attractions. The city sits under the Auroral Oval, making it an excellent choice for Aurora hunters! Fairbanks is also a great jumping-off point for other uniquely Alaskan adventures, which makes it a popular starting point for Aurora tours as well as other Alaska small-group tours.
  • Big Lake – located 60 miles north of Anchorage, this town sits on a big lake (believe it or not)! Aurora hunters flock to the town to see the Northern Lights reflected in the lake at night, and to enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding mountains by day. The town is a tourist hub in both winter and summer, with one of the main attractions being sled dogs! Search for the Aurora by night and experience the rush of mushing your own team of dogs by day.
  • Bettles Lodge – this lodge is easily reachable from Fairbanks by plane. It offers Aurora hunters a rustic setting to relax and unwind before a night of Northern Lights viewing, and a variety of outdoor activities to choose from during the day. Try your hand at dog sledding, cross-country skiing, or exploring the wilderness by snowmobile. Bettles Lodge is close to the Brooks Mountain Range, Kobuk Valley National Park, and Noatak National Preserve, making it an excellent retreat for anyone looking for adventure.
  • Talkeetna – located 115 miles north of Anchorage, Talkeetna sits at the base of Mount Denali. This historic town was founded in 1917, and its old clapboard buildings and log cabins lend it a rustic charm. Talkeetna is remote, meaning its skies are devoid of light pollution. This makes it one of the best places in Alaska to view the Northern Lights. If you visit in December, you can take part in the month-long celebration of Winterfest and look for the Northern Lights in the nighttime sky.
  • Chena Lake – if you’re looking for an adventure in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness without traveling too far from civilization, look no further than Chena Lake Recreation Area. This 2,000-acre park is located 17 miles from Fairbanks and offers fantastic views of the Northern Lights for visitors. The Hotel North Pole provides a festive option for travelers, or you can camp in the park and enjoy activities such as fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing, wildlife watching, and more during the daylight hours.
Northern Lights and log cabin in Alaska night sky

Searching Out Nature’s Light Show

Alaska has some of the best places to see the Northern Lights in the world! Although the Aurora is unpredictable and no one can be entirely sure where – or when – it’s going to appear, the locations mentioned above will provide you with some of the best opportunities to see the Northern Lights in the entire state. Pack your parka and other winter accessories and get ready to marvel at this natural phenomenon as it dances across the night sky.

Download all three Alaska tour brochures for tour dates and pricing.