PRIVATE & SMALL GROUP TOURS TO THE WORLD'S BEST DESTINATIONS
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
Finding The Northern Lights Hotspots In Alaska
The Northern Lights have been making headlines recently, mainly for appearing in places where they don’t usually appear! Why? Our solar system is heading into a “solar maximum,” which is forecasted to peak in 2025. That means the Aurora Borealis will be appearing much more often in the northern parts of the U.S. in the coming years. But it also means that now is a great time to head to Alaska to see the Northern Lights! There are many Alaska winter tour packages to choose from, and lots of exciting adventures to plan along the way. So, stay tuned – we have all the details you need to plan a once-in-a-lifetime getaway to the Far North!
Why Are The Aurora Getting Stronger?
Every 11 years, the sun goes through what is called a “solar cycle.” During this period, the number of sunspots observed on the surface of the sun wax and wane. When the number of sunspots increases, there’s an increase in solar flares and plasma energy on what scientists call “space weather.” These flares send bursts of energy toward Earth, which disrupt the planet’s magnetic field. The Northern Lights appear when this energy (in the form of particle streams) breaks through the magnetic field and interacts with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. This means that now is a great time to take advantage of Alaska’s best Aurora Borealis tours to see this amazing phenomenon!
The Best Places In Alaska To See The Northern Lights
The best place in Alaska to see the Northern Lights is in the Far North, or the Arctic region. This region of the state sits directly beneath the Auroral Oval, an area that sees a tremendous amount of Auroral activity. Here are a few key reasons why this part of Alaska is such a popular destination for Northern Lights viewing:
- The Arctic’s unique geography encourages the stable, clear weather you need to see the Aurora Borealis dance across the night sky.
- Fairbanks, and the cities to its North, sit directly under the Aurora Oval or Aurora Belt. This is this line around the globe the scientists have identified as where the Northern Lights are concentrated.
- The Arctic region sees an extended amount of darkness during the winter months! The lack of daylight means that visitors to this frozen wonderland have even more opportunities to see the Northern Lights than in other parts of the state.
- The sheer number of Alaska winter tour packages offered in this region makes it a great place to see the Aurora Borealis. These companies go out of their way to incorporate traditional winter activities along with some of the best Aurora Borealis tours in the state! Gaze at the dancing Aurora during the dark hours, but be prepared for adventure during the day!
- The Arctic region has built a strong tourism base around Northern Lights viewing. That means visitors can easily find lodging, restaurants, and tours geared toward this activity. Just remember to book early – even during the winter months, it is easy to get shut out because it is so busy.
Northern Lights Hot Spots
Fairbanks is one of Alaska's best places to view the Northern Lights. It is easy to fly into, offers plenty of amenities to visitors, and is teeming with activity during the day. But if you want to experience something a little different during your trip to Alaska to see the Northern Lights, you have several options. Here is a list of top Aurora spots in the interior and Arctic regions that offer a more unique (and remote) viewing experience.
- Coldfoot – this remote community is one of the few Alaska towns north of the Arctic Circle that is accessible by road. Located along the Dalton Highway and nestled in the southern foothills of the Brooks Range, Coldfoot is the perfect base camp for exploring the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve or the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The town includes an inn with rustic accommodations and several tour companies are based there. These tour operators offer some of the best Aurora Borealis tours in Alaska, combined with other activities like flightseeing, hiking, biking, and dog sledding.
- Wiseman – Located near the boundary of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Wiseman tends to attract visitors who are interested in backcountry adventures. The town is a jumping-off point for everything outdoors – from hiking fishing, and river rafting in the summer to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and dog mushing in the winter. Many Fairbanks-based tour companies offer Alaska winter tour packages in Wiseman that incorporate the activities listed above with Northern Lights viewing opportunities.
- Barrow – this community is the northernmost community in the United States. The town, which is now referred to as Utqiaġvik, is located on the Arctic Ocean. The only way to get there is by plane, but fortunately there is regular service from both Anchorage and Fairbanks. The Northern Lights viewing here is excellent, with the unique opportunity to watch the Aurora dance in the sky over the Arctic Ocean! And, during the daytime, there are many history centers, museums, and other cultural sites to explore.
- Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse – located at the northernmost reaches of the Alaska road system, Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay sit on the coastline of the Arctic Ocean in the heart of Alaska’s oil-producing region. Deadhorse is 498 long but beautiful miles from Fairbanks along the Dalton Highway. For the truly adventurous, the drive along the Dalton Highway is unique in its scenic beauty, wildlife, and recreational opportunities. Deadhorse only offers a few basic hotels with cafes, but if you want a truly unique experience to see Alaska’s scenery and the Northern Lights, this adventure just may be for you!
Add Ons To Your Arctic Adventure
It may look like a frozen wasteland to the uninitiated, but Alaska’s Far North is full of adventure! Your best bet to creating a one-of-a-kind experience is to make reservations with a tour company that offers Alaska winter tour packages as well as Northern Lights viewing opportunities. That way, you can experience uniquely Alaskan activities like Arctic snowshoeing with a guide, dog sledding with local mushers and a tour of the team’s kennels, a flightseeing tour over the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, a guided backpacking trip into the park’s backcountry, or a casual stroll along the Arctic coastline. But no matter what you do, a trip to Alaska to see the Northern Lights is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will never forget!