Northern Lights Alaska is a dream-like occurrence, and none can resist the pull of the striking celestial display of the Aurora Borealis. When the green and pink light ribbon started to blanket the sky, the sight is truly breathtaking.
Tourists worldwide travel to witness this natural phenomenon to the various remote locations, and Alaska is one of them. In Alaska, nature is in its purest form, with an abundance of wildlife and marine life.
The Aurora belt in Alaska’s great interior and Arctic Circle regions is among the most active destinations for watching Northern Lights globally.
We will be your Northern Lights Alaska guide to take you through this magical and adventurous journey if you plan your next vacation here or want to check your bucket lists.
The Science Behind Northern Lights
If you know about northern lights Alaska, it’s great; if not, please tag along and read until the end. Northern Light is a natural phenomenon occurring about 60 or 70 miles above the earth’s surface and can extend to a great distance into space.
When electrically charges particles traveling through the earth’s magnetic field collide with gases, it creates a burst of energetic light, and an aurora appears.
Appearing in the vivid color range of mostly green but can be somewhat red, pink, blue, and white. Its intensity rises across the Aurora Oval, which lies above the area geomagnetic north, where most of the aurora activities are concentrated.
More About Northern Lights Alaska
You can see Northern Lights in Alaska between 65 degrees North and 70 degrees North Latitude. As further north you go, the better chance you get to experience this beautiful occurrence more vividly and clearly.
Although it’s a year-round occurring phenomenon, the best time to observe the Northern Lights Alaska is during the Spring and Fall seasons between 21st August and mid-April and between the timing of 9 pm & 3 am.
Don’t forget to check the lunar cycle, as you can’t see Northern Lights in bright moonlight. Plan your trip during the new, crescent, or quarter moon periods for the best results.
The Best Time to Visit
As your Northern Lights Alaska guide, we will explain the uniqueness & beauty of both seasons then you can choose your pick.
During the fall season, the temperature is warm, and you can enjoy the view and other activities without worrying about getting cold. Double your experience of seeing Northern Lights by capturing its reflection in the lake, which is equally breathtaking as it is in the sky.
But be prepared to give 5 to 7 nights for your Northern Lights Alaska, watching as the weather can sometimes be stormy.
If you want to have a true Alaska-like feel without being outright cold, then spring is the best time for you as the winter season is about to end by this time. You may feel like you have entered a magical realm when you see the snow-covered ground and the Northern Lights pulsing and dancing in the sky.
Another great thing about being here in fall is that weather is clearest, i.e., late February and early March. You will find the sky devoid of clouds and air still, which is perfect for enjoying the Northern Lights without any obstructions.
During winter, Alaska’s natural beauty becomes even more dramatic. With snow-capped mountains and frozen lakes, it feels like a winter wonderland. Longer nights and clearer weather compared to other seasons make it the best time for Northern Lights sighting.
Locations to Watch the Northern Lights Alaska
Fairbanks is one of the most fascinating places to observe Northern Lights Alaska sighting, located underneath a ring centered on a magnetic pole in the zone known as Auroral Oval.
The chances of seeing Northern Lights activity is highest in Fairbanks. It is the 2nd largest city in Alaska, and it’s a hub for loads of winter activities.
2. Chena Hot Springs Resort
Another great place for Northern Lights viewing – due to its location under an active aurora band, is 65 miles northeast of Fairbanks. World-famous for its natural mineral hot springs and the world’s largest year-round indoor Aurora Ice Museum, it offers a wide variety of activities during your stay.
3. Bettles Lodge
Located 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle is another best place for Northern Lights viewing. Known for the clearest weather in the entire State, Bettles Lodge sits directly below the Aurora Band makes it the best location to watch Northern Lights Alaska. Reached easily from Fairbanks, this lodge offers modern amenities and easy access to Alaska’s vast wilderness.
4. Borealis Basecamp
Just 25 miles away from Fairbanks, Borealis Base camp, from its fiberglass domes’ curved glass window, provides a spectacular view of Aurora Borealis. Without being in the open from your cozy but luxurious nest, you can admire the vividly displayed light show all night long.
Coldfoot, to the 67 degrees North Latitude on the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, is the perfect Northern Lights Alaska location to watch this spectacular event.
Located near the well-known beautiful Gates of the Arctic National Park and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Coldfoot Camp provides easy access for adventure and play in the surrounding Brooks Range wilderness.
You can stay overnight at Coldfoot’s camp of Brook Mountain range if you are staying in a nearby town.
At the 71 degrees North Latitude of Alaska, it’s the northernmost city that makes it the perfect position to see the Northern Lights and the coldest for most of the year. You can stay at the Top of The World Hotel with the breathing view of the Arctic Ocean with an exquisite culinary experience, modern amenities, and exceptional 24-hour service.
It’s the largest city in Alaska by population. You will have to go outside the city limit to catch the Northern Lights. You can head to the popular sites of Flattop and Glen Alps Overlook, overlooking the city, which makes it a good place to watch this celestial activity.
Other good spots are Earthquake Park and Point Woronzof; with city light towards the east, you can catch the Northern Lights towards the north.
At 62 degrees N latitude, Talkeetna is north enough to provide a clear view of the Northern Lights of Alaska as it is void of city lights. Head towards the Christiansen Lake or Beaver Road or Talkeetna Riverfront Park; any of these spots are great vantage points to catch this beautiful celestial phenomenon.
Tips for Your Northern Lights Alaska Vacation
Everyone wants to enjoy their vacations without worrying about any setbacks or last moment arrangements. Here are some must-do organizing tips for you:
1) Reserve Your Tickets and Lodging Early
Flight tickets and lodging facilities get fully booked pretty early during the holiday season, like 2 to 3 months early! So please don’t leave it for the last moment.
2) Book Travel Tour Agency Ahead of Time
Travel tour agencies take care of you all travel itineraries, from food to lodging, vehicles to which hotspots to visit, weather forecast to fun activities, and enjoy your time stress-free. So always choose reliable agencies upon through research.
3) Pack The Right Gear
If you plan your Northern Lights Alaska vacation for the fall season, you don’t need to worry about packing lots of clothes as it’s warm during this time of year.
Even though winter is about to end during the spring season, it can get a bit chilly, so pack some warm layers. But for winter, you need to pack wisely. The top and bottom layers of clothes should be synthetic materials like polypropylene or natural wool, as good insulators.
Warm mid-layer like woolen sweaters or fleece jacket and warm pants, windproof coat, warm socks, winter boots, hat, mitten, and scarf are must pack.
4) Check The Weather Forecast
Never venture out in Alaska without checking the weather forecast. Do make sure to consult the weather forecast if the sky is void of clouds or not or if moonlight is at its lower intensity. All these factors are necessary to have a clear view of the Northern Lights.
5) Prepare to Stay for Multiple Days
There is no assurance that the Northern Lights will be visible every day; you won’t be able to catch it if your stay is for a short period. Try to stretch it for at least 4 to 5 days. Check the weather forecast before viewing hours, and if you are lucky, you can catch this otherworldly phenomenon on multiple days.
Other Activities You Can Do
There are other activities you can enjoy during your Northern Light Alaska viewing vacation. some of them are listed down below
- During the spring season, specifically around March, lots of fun stuff are going on, such as the Ice carving Championship, where artists from all over the world come to compete, ice fishing, sled rides, hiking, skiing, kayaking, and much more.
- As in for Fall Season, when the weather is not too hot or too cold, it’s perfect for taking a stroll in Alaska’s Annual State Fair in Palmer. It takes place from late August through early September. Also, whale sighting increases naturally during the year; you can catch them hopping out of the waterfall day long.
- Wintertime favorite activities other than Northern Alaska Lights viewing are dog sledding, ice fishing, ice climbing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and skiing.
- Each year the Fur Rendezvous festival and Iditarod Race offer cultural experiences during the day and night-time rendezvous of the Northern Lights during the night.
- In Alaska, nature is most genuine due to its abundant wildlife presence, where you can watch birds, brown bears, Orcas, Humpback whales, sea lions resting on the shores, and seals sunbathing on floating ice.
- Any vacation is incomplete without getting to know about their culture. Alaska’s native culture is vibrant in history, and you can see its glimpse in their arts, totem carvings, local dancing, storytelling, clothing, and museum.
Northern Lights Alaska
Because of its vivid and mesmerizing beauty, it’s easy to see why Northern Lights Alaska has captured the attention of tourists, bringing them back time and again. With plenty of options to choose from, you can plan the Northern Lights Alaska vacation of your choice and enjoy this otherworldly phenomenon.