Where Can I See The Northern Lights In Alaska?

Download Travel Details >


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
travel company press awards

Finding The Best Location For An Aurora Adventure

Aurora chasers know how to find the best places to watch the Northern Lights, no matter where the lights appear. But would you be surprised to learn that one of the best places for Aurora viewing is located in Alaska? That's right - you don't have to leave the U.S. to find an Aurora-viewing hotspot.

In fact, Alaska is one of the best places in the world to see this natural phenomenon.  The state is huge, with vast regions of wilderness and expansive dark skies that show the brilliant colors of the Northern Lights during the Aurora Season. But where is the best place in Alaska to see the Aurora Borealis? Keep reading to learn more!

remote location in Alaska under the aurora borealis

The Best Time To See The Northern Lights In Alaska

Alaska’s official Aurora season begins 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. But in addition to darkness, a good Northern Lights viewing experience demands clear skies and minimal light pollution. 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

But where exactly 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 of the state guarantee incredible viewing opportunities for Aurora chasers. Several factors come into play to make these two locations Aurora viewing hotspots:  the hours of darkness each experience during the winter months, heightened Auroral activity, and the sheer number of tours, activities, and accommodations 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

Alaska aurora borealis in remote locationFairbanks is the largest city in Alaska’s Interior region. It is also 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.

During the winter months, the city becomes a hub for travelers who want to witness the mesmerizing dance of the Aurora Borealis in the night sky. Tourists from all over the world flock to the numerous observation points scattered throughout the city, eager to catch a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights. 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. The vast wilderness surrounding the area provides a perfect backdrop for capturing mesmerizing photographs of the dancing Aurora Borealis.
  • Cleary Summit - enjoy spectacular views of the Aurora dancing over the Tanana Valley and the White Mountains from this lookout point. The vibrant colors of green, pink, and purple swirl across the night sky, creating a mesmerizing display that captivates all who gaze upon it. 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. Photographers and nature enthusiasts flock to this prime spot for an unforgettable experience during the Aurora Season.

Anchorage is the biggest city in Alaska. Although the urban feel surprises many visitors, the city also has access to some incredible natural spaces, an abundance of outdoor activities, and phenomenal wildlife viewing. It is one of the first places that come to mind when people ask “Where are the Northern Lights in Alaska?”

The breathtaking natural beauty that surrounds Anchorage makes it a prime destination for witnessing the mesmerizing dance of the Aurora Borealis in the night sky. 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. From the lookout point, visitors can witness the breathtaking sight of the sun setting behind the snow-capped peaks, casting a warm glow over the rugged Alaskan landscape.
  • The Downtown Viewpoint – easily accessible for all, this viewing location (in town) features an unobstructed view of the northern sky without immediate light pollution. Enjoy an optimal stargazing experience, perfect for observing constellations and shooting stars as well as the Northern Lights.
  • 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 as the lights dance above the majestic snow-capped peaks of the Alaska Range.
  • 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. The ethereal dance of the Northern Lights above the serene waters creates a mesmerizing spectacle that captures the essence of Alaska's natural beauty.
  • 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 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.

Aurora Adventures For A Truly Unique Alaskan Experience

While the best place in Alaska to see the Aurora Borealis is practically anywhere, some spots offer a more spectacular viewing experience than others. You can't go wrong with locations like Fairbanks or Denali National Park, where the Northern Lights paint the night sky in mesmerizing hues of green and purple. Just remember that a reputable tour guide can answer your questions about where the Northern Lights are in Alaska, guaranteeing a once-in-a-lifetime viewing during your trip!

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