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 Best Location For An Aurora Adventure
Aurora chasers know how to find all the best places to watch the Northern Lights, no matter where in the world the lights appear. It may surprise you, however, to know that one of the most popular hotspots for Aurora viewing is located in our own backyard – Alaska! The state is huge, with vast regions of wilderness and expansive dark skies that show the brilliant colors of the Northern Lights during Aurora Season. But where is the best place in Alaska to see the Aurora Borealis? Keep reading to learn more!
The Best Time To See The Northern Lights In Alaska
Alaska’s official Aurora season beings on August 21 and runs through April 21. During this time, the waning daylight hours lead to darker night skies, which makes conditions just right for Northern Lights viewing. You also need clear skies and to be in a location with minimal light pollution to see this spectacular natural show. Fortunately, Alaska has plenty of wide-open spaces that lend themselves to Aurora viewing, with or without the help of a tour guide.
Finding Alaska’s Best Aurora-Viewing Hot Spots
The first question we need to answer is, where are the Northern Lights in Alaska located? While it is possible to see the Northern Lights from almost any vantage point in Alaska, the Interior and Arctic regions guarantee incredible viewing opportunities for Aurora chasers. Both of these regions are good for Northern Lights viewing due to their location, the hours of darkness during the winter months, Auroral activity, and the sheer number of tours, activities, and accommodations dedicated to Northern Lights viewing that are available to tourists. Here’s a breakdown of the two regions and the best places in Alaska to see the Aurora Borealis!
Alaska’s Incredible Interior Region
Fairbanks is the largest city in Alaska’s Interior region, and it is one of the best places where you can see the Northern Lights in Alaska. The city is easily accessible by local, domestic, and international flights, and has built up a thriving tourist business around Northern Lights viewing. Here’s a list of top viewing locations in Fairbanks:
- Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge - This bird sanctuary, which is one of the best places to see the Aurora Borealis in Alaska, is located just two miles from downtown Fairbanks. The minimal light pollution and open fields mean you’ll have an unobstructed view of the Northern Lights!
- Chena Lake Recreation Area – located 17 miles from downtown Fairbanks, this 2,000-acre recreation area has low light pollution and plenty of wide-open spaces that are perfect for Aurora viewing.
- Cleary Summit - enjoy spectacular views of the Aurora dancing over the Tanana Valley and the White Mountains from this lookout point. Just be warned – this is a popular viewing area and can get very crowded.
- Murphy Dome: Enjoy an unobstructed view of the night sky from this Northern Lights viewing Location. Located 25 miles from downtown Fairbanks, the stunning views make this a very popular place for Aurora chasers to wait for the Northern Lights to appear.
Anchorage is the biggest city in Alaska and has a decided urban feel. It also has access to some incredible natural spaces, an abundance of outdoor activities, phenomenal wildlife viewing, and cultural significance. It is also one of the first places mentioned when people ask “Where are the Northern Lights in Alaska?” Here are a few popular hotspots in Anchorage for Northern Lights viewing:
- Glen Alps Overlook – located in Chugach State Park, this lookout point sits at 2,200 feet elevation and offers tourists a stunning view of the Anchorage Bowl and its five surrounding mountain ranges.
- The Downtown Viewpoint – easily accessible for all, this viewing location (in town) features an unobstructed view of the northern sky without immediate light pollution.
- Point Woronzof – located 120 feet above Knik Arm, this viewpoint offers a great view of Denali. Seeing the Northern Lights from this vantage point offers tourists a truly unique view of the phenomenon!
- Beluga Point – if you take a drive down the Seward Highway to the west, you will run into the vast tidal flats of the Turnagin Arm Fjord. Here, you can watch beluga whales during the day and the Northern Lights at night.
- Reflections Lake – located in the 28,800-acre Palmer Hays Flats State Game Refuge, this natural area has a 30-foot-high wildlife observation tower that doubles as a Northern Lights viewing tower. Enjoy catching sight of the Aurora from this unique perspective.
Finding The Northern Lights In Alaska’s Far North
The Arctic is one of Alaska’s most remote and diverse regions. Located above the Arctic Circle, the Arctic Region is one of the best places in Alaska to see the Aurora Borealis. It may sound far away, but most of the region’s major cities are accessible by plane, and regularly scheduled flights leave from Fairbanks and Anchorage every day. If you are wondering where you can see the Northern Lights in Alaska’s Far North Region, here are a few of the most popular viewing options:
- Nome - A coastal town located alongside the Bering Sea, Nome offers a rich history and incredible scenery. It is also a popular destination for Northern Lights viewing tours and dog mushing tours. Which makes sense, since this town is the finish line for the Iditarod!
- Utqiagvik – formerly known as Barrow, this town is located above the Arctic Circle. In addition to Northern Lights viewing, the town offers visitors visiting the opportunity to learn about the culture of the indigenous Iñupiaq, who make up a majority of Utqiagvik and operate the Iñupiaq Heritage Center in the town.
- Iniakuk Lake Wilderness Lodge – for a truly unique experience, you can reserve a room at the Iniakuk Lake Wilderness Lodge. This fly-in, luxury wilderness lodge is 200 miles North of Fairbanks and 60 miles above the Arctic Circle. The lodge’s location makes it a perfect place for Northern Lights viewing, as well as for dogsledding and snowshoeing adventures. It sits within the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and offers visitors a chance to see the Aurora dancing over the top of the Brooks Mountain Range.
While the best place in Alaska to see the Aurora Borealis is practically anywhere, there are some spots that offer a more spectacular viewing experience than others. Keep that in mind when you are planning your Northern Lights viewing trip to Alaska! A reputable tour guide can answer your questions about where the Northern Lights are in Alaska and point you in the direction of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.