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When it comes to the Northern Lights Alaska is the only place in the US where you can see the stunning Aurora Borealis every night of the year! You don’t have to travel all the way to Europe to view these solar flares that fill the night sky with dancing waves of blue, yellow, and pink.
Although, to view the most vibrant colors in the sky, be sure to visit Alaska when the sky is the darkest. That will be anytime from September to April with the winter months being the darkest months.
You should also be aware that the Northern Lights are somewhat unpredictable when it comes to finding out when or where they will be, although the University of Alaska – Fairbanks does have an Aurora Forecast to help give you an educated guess.
Also, there are certain places where you’ll have a better chance of seeing the lights.
1. The Famous City of Anchorage
Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city and where 40% of the state’s residents live. These locals are lucky, because their home is one of the best places in Alaska to view the Northern lights. They light up the sky beginning at 8pm during the winter months. Although, the best times for viewing are after midnight.
To get an even better view, you might want to say goodbye to Anchorage’s city lights for the surrounding wilderness to catch a better view with Alaskan wildlife. Yet, don’t worry. It’s not as scary as it sounds, as there are guided tours to take you to the best viewing spots just outside of the city.
That means that when packing for an Alaska trip you’ll want to ensure that you have layers upon layers of well-insulated winter clothes to withstand your midnight hikes.
2. Top Notch Viewing in Fairbanks
Fairbanks is another city that is a prime viewing spot for the Northern Lights. Some might even consider it to be Alaska’s best as it’s located directly beneath the ‘Auroral Oval’, an area where the Northern Lights are the most concentrated. Alaska weather is also mild in this area with light rainfall that offers clear skies making it perfect for viewing the night-lights.
While you’re in Fairbanks be sure to enjoy wild Alaskan salmon. The city is home to the world premier supplier of the fish and salmon industry is one of its strongest industries. You can even book day tours fishing either on the ice during winter or by rafts along the rivers during spring and autumn.
3. Perfect Skies in Denali National Park
It might not come as a surprise that Alaska’s most famous park would also be one of the best places to view the Northern Lights. Denali National Park is home to Mt. Kinley, where you can look and see the lights sparkling overhead America’s tallest peak. Book a lodge in this area and you might even be woken up with a phone call from the staff that the lights suddenly appear.
It’s not always known when the lights will show, so if you’re visiting mainly for this spectacular sight, you can request a call be made to you when they appear.
Similar to the town of Fairbanks, August through April are the best months to view as the sky is the darkest. Although, while you’re at the national park be sure to enjoy the night sky that comes alive with billions of stars every night, even if you can’t see the Northern Lights. .
4. Exploring Winter Sports in Nome
This tiny town sits between the Bering Sea and miles of wilderness. So, getting there is a trek northward that will include a local flight. Although, it’s well worth a visit to this town that offers winter sports such as dog sledding. Not only will see the official finish line for the Alaskan racing sport, you’ll also have an opportunity to race yourself.
Since the town is small and has little light pollution you will be in one of the places to view the Northern Lights. Locals can direct you to the best viewing spots to see the lights in their full splendour. There are even opportunities to view the lights from a boat on the Bering Sea.
You’ll Want to Visit Again
As you can tell Alaska has a perfect viewing spot for everyone to see the Aurora Borealis. Whether you prefer the big city or total isolation on the sea, there are several excursions you can take to see one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. Just be sure to book your trip during the winter months and check the forecast for clear skies.
When packing, choose warm mid-layers such as wool sweaters and fleece jackets and you’ll want to bring your good winter boots along too. And, don’t forget to keep an open mind having a new adventure. The Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon that you won’t be able to see every night.
Yet, when you do expect a glowing band of light to fill the sky for 1-2 hours, usually peaking 30 minutes after they begin.