Extraordinary Northern Lights Viewing 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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The Ultimate Guide To Seeing The Aurora Borealis

The Northern Lights are an atmospheric phenomenon that appears in the night sky as waves of green, purple, and red light. The lights, or Aurora, occur when waves of energized particles from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere. The particles then travel along the Earth’s magnetic field to either the North or South poles, where an exchange of energy produces the colorful light display. If you want to see the Northern Lights, you’re in luck – some of the best views of the Northern Lights are in Alaska!

Aurora borealis in green and purple through dark Alaskan sky

Top 3 Reasons To Chase The Aurora In Alaska

When it comes to seeing the Northern Lights, you don’t need to travel overseas to see them! Although Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Greenland, and even Canada boast some impressive Aurora displays, Alaska is one of the easiest locations to travel to for Northern Lights viewing. Here are three reasons to book a Northern Lights viewing trip to Alaska.

  • East travel from the Lower 48 – it’s easy to book nonstop flights to Anchorage from major U.S. hubs year-round! That means you can land in Alaska within a few hours of leaving home. Better yet, no passport is required!
  • Enjoy the great outdoors – there’s plenty to do during daylight hours if you visit Alaska! From mid-November through March, you can enjoy winter activities like ice fishing or dogsledding. If you visit from mid-August to mid-September, you can still take advantage of the mild weather to go hiking in Denali National Park or cruising around a glacier.
  • Odds that can’t be beat – experienced Aurora chasers will tell you that visitors who spend three nights looking for the lights (especially in the north of the state), have a 90 percent chance of seeing them.
moutain with northern lights in Alaska

When Is The Best Time To See The Northern Lights?

Northern Lights viewing in Alaska is very popular. In fact, tour operators have designed an entire travel industry around this atmospheric phenomenon. In order to maximize your chances of seeing the Aurora, however, you need to know when to visit Alaska to see the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights occur year-round, but they are not always visible to the naked eye! You need to have the right viewing conditions to see them. The most important factor is darkness. This means that the best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska is from late August to mid-April when Alaska has more nighttime hours than daylight ones.

The Best Views Of The Northern Lights In Alaska

As you start to plan your trip, you may be wondering from what city in Alaska you can see the Northern Lights. Alaskan locals jokingly tell people to simply step outside and look up, but there is a bit of science behind finding the best location. The main Auroral band – the ring of geomagnetic particles where the Northern Lights are most visible – centers around the Arctic Circle. This means that Fairbanks and all points north are the best spots for Northern Lights viewing in Alaska.

Here are 4 fun locations to start your Northern Lights viewing adventure:

  • Fairbanks – the old gold rush boomtown of Fairbanks may be the most popular destination for visitors who want the best view of the Northern Lights in Alaska. The town sits under the Aurora Oval, at 65 degrees latitude, which means conditions are perfect for Aurora viewing – even in town! Fairbanks is also a great basecamp for other Alaska adventures, including dog sledding, snowmobiling, and ice fishing during the day. This town has plenty of lodging and other accommodations for tourists, making it the perfect place for a Northern Lights vacation.
  • Coldfoot – once a thriving gold mining settlement, Colfood is now a truck stop on the famed Dalton Highway. However, it is a prime Northern Lights viewing location in the Alaska Arctic. Aurora seekers can stay at the rustic Coldfoot Camp in the Brooks Mountain Range or travel to Wiseman (approximately 15 miles north) to see the Northern Lights.
  • Utqiaġvik – this tiny town is located on the extreme northern edge of Alaska on the Arctic Ocean! In addition to Northern Lights viewing, Utqiaġvik is a good place to visit to learn more about the Inupiat culture. To reach this remote outpost, you can fly in from Anchorage and stay at the Top Of The World Hotel – which organizes tours and outdoor adventures for visitors.
  • Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve – this vast national park is the largest protected reserve in the United States. If you are looking for a true adventure in the Alaskan wilderness, you can book a room at the Ultima Thule Lodge for glacier trekking, rafting, fishing, and Northern Lights viewing.
Log cabin with beams of green aurora borealis in Alaska

How To See The Northern Lights In Alaska

To make the most out of Northern Lights Viewing in Alaska, you’ll have to wait until the fall, winter, or spring months. For your best chance at seeing the Aurora, schedule your trip around the fall or spring equinox. Solar activity usually peaks around these times, which occur in September and March, creating stunning displays in the night sky.

It’s also a good idea to consider booking a Northern Lights tour. While you can certainly plan an Aurora hunt on your own, taking a Northern Lights tour is a good way to maximize your viewing opportunity! Your guide will know where the best viewing spots are and will be able to explain the science behind this natural phenomenon as you are waiting for the lights to appear. Many tours even provide winter gear to help withstand the Alaskan cold – which certainly makes it easier for you when packing for your trip.

An Adventure To Remember

An Alaskan adventure means memories for a lifetime. From Northern Lights viewing in Alaska to exploring the state’s amazing national parks to learning about native culture and history – there’s something for everyone in this incredible state. Start planning today to make sure you get the best view of the Northern Lights in Alaska during your stay!

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