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The Northern Lights are beautiful displays of neon-green, neon-pink, and blue hues. These lights have fascinated the world over, from native tribes to foreign settlers far and wide.
Did you know the Northern Lights are created by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere?
The Northern Lights usually appear in the northern or southern-most part of the hemisphere; however, these lights have even been seen in New Orleans. Maybe you are curious about seeing the northern lights, and you want a relatively inexpensive way to view them.
Luckily, there are many locations in Alaska where you can see the aurora borealis in all of its splendor.
6 Places to See the Northern Lights in Alaska
We will discuss 6 places in Alaska where you can find the Northern Lights. Some of these spots might require you to bundle and stay warm, while other locations will allow you to view the Northern Lights in the comfort of a hot spring.
1. Manley Hot Spring, Fairbanks
Fairbanks is an awesome place to see the Northern Lights in Alaska. It’s such a great place to view the Northern Lights, because of all of the tools you can use to make viewing the Northern Lights easier. First, you can utilize the University of Alaska’s Fairbanks’ aurora forecast tool to get a quick look at when the Northern Lights will be visible in Fairbanks.
Next, instead of viewing the Northern Lights in the cold, you can make a trip to Manley Host Springs to view the Northern Lights there. What better way to enjoy the beauty of the aurora borealis than in a nice, calm, comfortable hot spring?
The Manley Hot Springs used to have a resort that travelers could stay at, but it went bankrupt and had to close. Chuck and Gladys Dart converted this old resort into a greenhouse that you can soak in hot spring water. To better plan your Northern Lights trip, we recommend you contact Fairbank’s Visitors’ Information for a full rundown on how to get to Manley Hot Springs and what to do for lodging.
2. Murphy Dome, Fairbanks
Another spot you can use to view the Northern Lights in Fairbanks is the repurposed Murphy Dome. Murphy Dome used to be an old air force base, but it has been repurposed into a recreational site that ATV riders and hikers use.
Why not catch the Northern Lights while riding an ATV in Murphy Dome? It could be the perfect backdrop for a fun, extreme sport. It is easier than ever to see the aurora borealis when you are at the top of the dome.
If you aren’t interested in extreme sports and you would rather have a guided tour, 1st Alaska Tours has you covered. For $95 through Expedia, 1st Alaska Tours offers a guided tour to see the Northern Lights at Murphy Dome. A van will pick you up from any hotel in Fairbanks and will take you to Murphy Dome. A tour guide will walk you through all of the best vantage points to see the Northern Lights.
An added benefit to going on this tour is that the van you will be picked up in is heated. You will also be provided with hot drinks to accompany your Northern Lights viewing experience. We hope you are ready to stay up late though as the tour lasts until 3 A.M. It is important to note that this tour only operates in the winter months as it is easier to see the Northern Lights in these months.
3. Denali National Park, Denali
Denali National Park is one of the best places to view the Northern Lights in Alaska. Denali National Park has one of the highest mountain peaks in North America. This national park also contains next to no light pollution. The lack of light pollution at Denali National Park means the Northern Lights will be much easier to see than if you were in the city limits.
An added benefit of this national park is that it is only 3 hours away from Fairbanks.
Denali National Park isn’t just a good place to view the Northern Lights, it’s also a great place to engage in other activities. Have you ever wanted to ski with the backdrop of the Northern Lights? Denali National Park is perfect for this, as there are a number of slopes on the mountains that you can take advantage of.
Or maybe you’re in a hiking mood? There are a number of trails you can take at Denali National Park to also catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. What better way to see the Northern Lights with your family than by camping out in a national park?
For anyone looking to camp, we recommend reviewing Denali National Park’s safety resource.
4. Nome, Alaska
Nome, Alaska may be a small rural town, but it is home to what many Alaskan folks refer to as the “Mardi Gras of the North”. Nome is the finish line for the famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Imagine reliving the joy of the movie Disney Movie, Snow Dogs, to the backdrop of the Northern Lights! Because this race takes place in March, it is still the perfect season for the amount of darkness required to view the northern lights.
You can book a hotel or an Airbnb during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race pretty easily. You will be able to enjoy the Northern Lights with hundreds of other adventurers in rural Alaska. Nome has a number of businesses that will make your dog racing and Northern Lights viewing experience pleasurable.
With a number of restaurants, meet up locations, and hotels, Nome is a comfortable, interesting, and low-key town to view the Northern Lights.
5. Anchorage, Alaska
If you want a guided tour to some of the best locations to view the Northern Lights, then look no further than Salmon Berry Tours. Salmon Berry Tours offers a number of tours throughout Anchorage that show guests some of the best locations to view the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights Overnight tour is an all-inclusive tour that takes guests to the town of Talkeetna right outside of Anchorage.
Guests will arrive in Talkeetna around dinner time. They will eat at the Historic Talkeetna Roadhouse, then set out on their adventure from there. At the Roadhouse, guests will be treated to an entertaining and informational performance by “Stary Lady,” a woman with experience teaching about the wonders of the aurora borealis.
From the Roadhouse, guests will snowshoe to a nearby river, one of the best locations to view the Northern Lights near Anchorage.
Salmon Berry Tours also offers multiple day excursions that include the ability to drive your own sled dog! Salmon Berry Tours makes Anchorage one of the best locations to catch the Northern Lights. You can rest easy knowing that you will be in the hands of tour guides who look to give each guest the best Northern Lights viewing experience possible.
6. Coldfoot, Alaska
Many of the places you can view the Northern Lights involve some form of hiking or taking a form of land transportation. What if we told you, you could also view the Northern Lights in the air? Arctic Circle Aurora Tours is a sightseeing trip by plane that will take you to some of the best locations in Alaska to view the aurora borealis.
This flight starts off in the easily accessible Fairbanks, Alaska. From Fairbanks, you will travel to Coldfoot, Alaska. Coldfoot is commonly regarded as one of the best places to view the Northern Lights because it is directly beneath the auroral oval. The auroral oval is where some of the best displays by the Northern Lights happens.
Not only do you get a chance to view the Northern Lights from a plane, but you also get the chance to catch a glimpse of the Alaskan wilderness from an aerial view. That’s two incredible sightseeing experiences in one.
Depending on the season you leave in, the cost of the tour will differ. From August 21, 2018 to September 17, 2018, the Arctic Circle Aurora Fly/Drive Adventure will cost $469 per person. The entire trip will last for a total of 13 hours.
You Can View the Northern Lights From Many Locations in Alaska
We have provided you with 6 different locations where you can view the Northern Lights from in Alaska.
There are some places in Alaska where you can view the Northern Lights better than others. It is important that you take into consideration the season you are in when you go to Alaska. The aurora borealis is easier to see in the fall, winter, and early spring seasons because of more darkness. Viewing the Northern Lights in the summertime is near impossible.
There are a number of resources you can take advantage of in Alaska, to have the best Northern Lights viewing experience possible. Get out there and try one of the locations we mentioned for an awesome Northern Lights in Alaska viewing experience.