Alaska’s Northern Lights In September

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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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Visiting Alaska In September

One of the best times to see the Northern Lights in Alaska’s nighttime sky is the month of September! During the early fall season, aurora activity is high, which greatly increases your chances of seeing this natural phenomenon. In addition, the hours of darkness begin to lengthen during the early fall season. Generally speaking, the average number of hours of darkness in Alaska during the month of September is 11! Add to that the fact that the skies are mostly clear during this month, and you now know why so many people schedule their Alaska tours in September!

green shades of northern lights over trees in Alaska

Why Are The September Northern Lights In Alaska So Active?

Mid-August through mid-April is considered to be the prime aurora season in Alaska. There are many reasons for this, and they all have to do with solar activity and how it interacts with the Earth’s magnetic poles. This activity is generally higher than usual during both the spring and fall equinoxes. Why? Well, scientists have been studying this phenomenon for years, but have yet to reach a concrete conclusion. What they do know, however, is that during the equinox the geomagnetic field experiences lots of electrical disturbance. At the same time, the Earth is tilting on its axis so that its magnetic poles are at right angles to the solar wind two times each day. During these times, the solar winds are strong and the Northern Lights are visible to viewers down below.

The Best Place To See The Northern Lights In Alaska

Seeing the aurora borealis is one of the best reasons to travel to Alaska in September. But where is the best place to see Alaska Northern Lights in September? While the auroras are visible in the skies above the Interior and Northern regions of Alaska, one of the most popular destinations for aurora hunters is Fairbanks.  Fairbanks is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Alaska because of its location, the hours of darkness it receives, and the amount of auroral activity in the sky above the town.

Fairbanks, and most points near the Arctic Circle, lie underneath the Auroral Oval. The area is shaped like a huge ring above the Earth’s geomagnetic North Pole and has been created by the Earth’s magnetic fields. When particles from the solar winds hit the Earth’s atmosphere along these magnetic lines, they produce the amazing colors of the aurora borealis. Because Fairbanks is located along these magnetic lines, the city is a great place to see this natural phenomenon!

Fairbanks is also a popular aurora-viewing destination because of the number of Alaska tours in September that use the town as a jumping-off point. These tour operators have created numerous activities dedicated to Northern Lights viewing and the town boasts a variety of lodging options for visitors. Although you can see Alaska Northern Lights in September in more remote locations like Coldfoot and Prudhoe Bay, Fairbanks is convenient for travelers and very comfortable for those who like to be near city amenities.

What Else Can You Do In Alaska In September?

Alaskan brown bear sitting on waterfallAlthough peak tourist season is over in September, there are plenty of reasons to visit Alaska in September. One of the main reasons to take Alaska tours in September is simply that – tourist season is over, and the main tourist attractions are less crowded! As an added bonus, many restaurants, outfitters, and guides lower their prices after the summer tourists depart. So why visit Alaska in September? Here is a list of fun things to do during the shoulder season:

  • See the Northern Lights – as we explained above, seeing the Alaska Northern Lights in September is an amazing experience. The auroras are active in September, especially around the equinox. This usually falls on the 20th of the month. If you plan your trip with that date in mind, you are sure to see a light show you won’t forget
  • Take in the fall colors – Alaska in the fall is a feast for the eyes! The birch trees in the boreal forest turn yellow, and the vegetation scattered across the tundra turns a rich red. Even if you have to bundle up against the encroaching cold, Alaska tours in September are beautiful! Plus, the bugs have died off so you don’t have to worry about that.
  • Visit Denali National Park – there’s no better place to see the fall colors than Denali National Park! If you plan your trip early in September, you can catch a train from Anchorage or Fairbanks to the Park. But if you go later in the month, you will have to rent a car because the daily trains to the park do not run after mid-September. Denali is one of the few national parks in Alaska that stays open in the off-season, though, so why not take advantage of this fact and see the park decked out in its fall glory?
  • Take a train ride – the train to Denali might be shut down, but the Alaskan Railroad is still operating! Take a day-long train ride across the state to view the fall leaves and observe wildlife as it gets ready for the long, cold winter.
  • Go wildlife viewing – animals know that winter is coming. In Alaska, the month of September is one of preparation. Large mammals such as caribou, moose, and grizzly bears venture from their main habitat to lower elevations in order to forage for as much food as they can find before the lean winter months begin. Migratory birds like geese, cranes, shorebirds, and raptors fill the sky as they travel to their winter stomping grounds. If one of the reasons you have chosen to visit Alaska is the wildlife, September is a great time to do it! The lack of crowds and the fact that animals know winter is about to set in means that your chances of spotting these large game animals will drastically improve.

While the September Northern Lights in Alaska are amazing, the state has so much more to offer! A good tour operator can help you plan Alaska tours in September if you are unsure how to get started. From the Northern Lights to the fall colors to wildlife viewing, Alaska’s fall travel season is one of the best for adventurous travelers.

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