Chasing The Aurora Borealis 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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Is November A Good Month To See The Northern Lights?

So you have decided to see the Northern Lights in Alaska in November- congratulations! November is a great month to visit Alaska and plan an aurora-watching adventure. In fact, November through January is the best time to travel to Alaska to see the aurora borealis. Why? Simple! The days are short and the nights are long, which increases the odds of you seeing an aurora display. The colorful dance of lights in the sky mesmerizes all who are fortunate enough to witness it, painting a breathtaking spectacle against the dark backdrop of the night.

Get Ready For Winter Aurora Watching

Bright green display of northern lights in north americaYes, November can be a challenging month to visit Alaska. It is the first month of the long winter season and can be very cold with daytime temperatures in the 20s and 30s. However, November is generally not a snowy month, so if you dress for the cold you will be ready to go aurora-watching. Many travelers swear Northern Lights in Alaska’s best month for viewing is November, because of the increasing darkness. During this month, the days begin to shorten. In the Far North, there are less than six hours of sunlight every single day. But even in the more southerly part of the state, daylight averages less than nine hours. This means you’ll have plenty of time to hunt the elusive Northern Lights during your visit!

How To See The Northern Lights In Alaska In November

Several factors impact the ability to see the Northern Lights in the nighttime sky, whether you are in Alaska or anywhere else! Geomagnetic activity and cloud cover play significant roles in determining the visibility of the Northern Lights, adding an element of unpredictability to the experience. The three most important things that influence aurora sightings are listed below:

  • Sunlight hours. For example, visiting Alaska at the height of the Midnight Sun in summer would drastically limit the dark skies needed to see the Northern Lights.
  • Cloud cover. Even if you travel to Alaska during peak aurora viewing season, rain and snow clouds can obscure this phenomenon in the night sky. However, when the skies clear up, the dancing colors of the northern lights can be a breathtaking spectacle to behold.
  • Light pollution. It is more difficult to see the Northern Lights if manmade lights are nearby. In order to increase your chances of seeing an aurora, it is best to travel outside of major cities. And don’t forget – seeing the Northern Lights during a full moon is difficult! The moon itself can obscure this natural light show.
  • Bonus tip: plan to stay in Alaska for at least three nights during aurora hunting trips. This will increase your chances of seeing an aurora display to over 90 percent, especially if you plan your Aurora viewing adventure under the Auroral Oval.

Finding The Best Place To See The Northern Lights

Now that you know the best time to travel to Alaska to see the aurora borealis, you may be wondering where the best place to see the Northern Lights is! Fairbanks is one of the most popular places for visitors to see the Northern Lights. This northern city’s popularity is based on easy accessibility for travelers – there are plenty of flights in and out of the city every day, and there are many dining and lodging options for travelers. Fairbanks, and points further north, are ideal for aurora viewing because they sit under the “auroral oval.” This ring-shaped zone is where aurora activity is concentrated, almost guaranteeing a sighting.

Here are our top cities for aurora viewing if you want to see Northern Lights in Alaska in November:

  • Fairbanks – as mentioned above, this easily accessible town is a tourist hot spot.  Located in the heart of Alaska, Fairbanks offers mesmerizing views of the Aurora Borealis during the long winter nights. You can also plan all types of fun winter activities like dog sledding and skiing if you stay in Fairbanks.
  • Nome – this former gold-rush town has a low level of light pollution, so you won’t have to travel outside of town to see the nighttime skies dance with fantastic colors. As a bonus, you can learn about the town’s gold rush history during daylight hours.
  • Denali National Park – if you book a guided tour to Denali, you can see the Northern Lights from Mount Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America. And, you can explore the park when you are not hunting auroras! Scenic trails weave through the park, offering tourists breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness.
  • Anchorage – if you can’t do without your creature comforts, Anchorage is the place to see the Northern Lights. This modern city boasts lots of cozy amenities for travelers and has relatively low light pollution, meaning you won’t have to travel to the backcountry to spot an aurora.
  • Juneau – if you want to see the Northern Lights from a cruise ship, Juneau’s many tour operators can provide an opportunity for a unique viewing experience. Embark on a cruise excursion that will take you beyond the city lights to witness the mesmerizing dance of the Aurora Borealis in the clear Alaskan night sky.
  • Chena Hot Springs – located 60 miles outside of Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs and Resorts is an ideal place to relax and rejuvenate in a spa-like environment and see the Northern Lights in Alaska in November. Tucked away in the picturesque wilderness of Alaska, the resort offers a unique blend of natural beauty and luxury amenities for visitors seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
  • Coldfoot – this quiet, remote town is a fantastic place to see the aurora borealis. But it’s also the gateway to Alaska’s amazing backcountry. Plan your trip to include a flightseeing tour over the Gates of the Arctic National Park or enjoy any one of the many winter sports Alaska has to offer.
  • Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay – located at the terminus of the Dalton Highway and near the Arctic Ocean, this remote town on the tundra will provide one of the most unique views of the Northern Lights a visitor could imagine!

Plan On Becoming A Night Owl To See The Northern Lights!

Of course, the best time of day to see the Northern Lights in Alaska (at least during the winter) is between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. One of the benefits of booking a guided aurora tour, vs. a do-it-yourself-tour is that a guide will track the possibility of a Northern Light sighting using an online Aurora Tracker and wake you when the possibility of an aurora sighting is imminent! You won’t have to worry about tracking the conditions or staying awake to see this amazing sight if the possibility is “iffy.”

So, if you think the best time to travel to Alaska to see aurora borealis is November, get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. The nighttime sky is waiting for you! Enjoy the show as the dancing lights of the aurora borealis will paint the Alaskan sky in mesmerizing hues of green and purple, creating a magical spectacle that will leave you in awe.

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