Seeing the Northern Lights in Alaska

The northern lights are one of the most beautiful natural phenomena in the world. They can be seen in many places around the world but some places are better than others to see them. One of these places is Alaska, which is a state with an abundance of northern lights viewing opportunities and has been attracting people for years who want to experience this amazing phenomenon. The best time and locations for northern lights viewing in Alaska will depend on your preferences so I have compiled a list below that should help you plan your trip accordingly.

Northern Lights in Alaska

What are Northern Lights?

The northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, are a natural light display that can be seen in many places around the world. They are caused by the interaction of particles from the sun with the Earth’s atmosphere and are most often seen in the northern hemisphere.

Why do they call it Aurora Borealis?

The aurora borealis get their name from the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora, and Boreas, the god of the north wind. They have been observed by people for centuries and have been given many different names depending on where in the world they are seen.

How are Northern Lights created?

Auroras are created when particles from the sun collide with gas atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere. This interaction creates a colorful light show in the sky. The northern lights are named for the northern hemisphere because they are more visible in northern latitudes. Alaska is a great place to see the northern lights because it has dark skies and little light pollution. Norway and other Scandinavian countries are also great places to see northern lights.

Colors of Northern Lights

The northern lights are known for their beautiful colors. Depending on the atmospheric conditions, the northern lights can be seen in a variety of colors including green, blue, yellow and red. Some northern lights display even have a purple hue. The colors are caused by the different wavelengths of light being released by the northern lights.

Colors of Northern Lights in Alaska

Relationship between the northern lights and the arctic circle

The northern lights are seen around the Arctic Circle because that is where you can find the darkest skies. The Arctic has little light pollution, which means that it’s easier to see the northern lights. In addition, the Arctic is a cold place, and colder air makes the aurora borealis more visible.

Best time to see the northern lights

The best time to see the northern lights in Alaska is during the winter months (late September to early April). This is because the nights are longer and the sky is darker, making it easier to see the aurora borealis. During longer nights, there is less light pollution from the Sun. Another reason is that the winter air is colder, which causes the particles in the atmosphere to glow more brightly.

However, the northern lights can be seen at any time of year if the conditions are right. The best places to see them are typically away from city lights, so consider heading out into nature for your northern lights viewing adventure! There are many Northern Lights tours available in Alaska.

Best places in Alaska to see the northern lights

There are many different ways to see the northern lights in Alaska, and the best option for you will depend on your preferences. Some people prefer to see them from the comfort of their own home, while others want to be out in nature and get a closer look. Alaska has several places from which you can see the northern lights depending on your comfort level.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park is one of the best places in Alaska to see the northern lights. The park is located in the interior of Alaska and has dark skies and little light pollution, making it a perfect place for northern light viewing. In addition, the park is home to Mount Denali, which is the tallest mountain in North America. This makes for a beautiful backdrop when viewing the northern lights.

However, a major part of the park remains closed during winter, especially all the lodges and hotels. Several tour companies offer northern lights tours in nearby towns. These tours typically include transportation, a guide, and hot drinks and snacks. Check weather condition before booking your tour.

Northern Lights at Denali National Park


Fairbanks is the most popular option whether you are a beginner or a serious Aurora chaser. The city has dark skies and little light pollution, making it easy to see the aurora borealis. In addition, Fairbanks is located near the Arctic Circle, so there’s a good chance of seeing the northern lights if you visit during winter. It has a real-time aurora tracker that gives information concerning weather, temperature, and the best time to view the northern lights.

Northern Lights in Fairbanks

Book a Northern Lights Tour in Fairbanks, Alaska for an unforgettable experience

Chena Hot Springs Resort

The Chena Hot Springs Resort is located near Fairbanks. It has several advantages that make it an excellent place to view the aurora borealis. One of the main advantages is that the resort has several lookout points where you can view the northern lights. These vantage points provide a great view of the sky and make it easy to spot the aurora borealis. A nighttime excursion takes place at 2,600 feet above sea level in the Charlie Dome. It is located about 45 minutes from Fairbanks and it has a 360-degree view of the sky. This makes it easy to spot the aurora borealis. The Charlie Dome is also a great place to see the stars because there is very little light pollution.

Explore more about 10 Exciting Things to Do in Alaska


Nome is located in the northwestern region of Alaska and is a popular spot for viewing the northern lights. The city is situated on the Seward Peninsula, which offers some of the best views of the aurora borealis in all of Alaska. Nome also has relatively clear skies, making it an ideal destination for northern lights sightings.

Northern Lights in Nome (Seward, Alaska)

Kodiak Island

Kodiak Island is located in the Gulf of Alaska and is the second-largest island in the United States. With its remote location and lack of light pollution, it offers some of the clearest skies in the country. The aurora borealis can be seen here from September through April, with the best viewing opportunities typically occurring in late fall and winter. The island is also home to several glaciers and mountains, which make for a beautiful backdrop when viewing the aurora borealis.


Barrow is located at the northernmost point of Alaska and right above the Arctic Circle. It’s also the most northern town in the world. It is a great place to see the northern lights. The city has dark skies and little light pollution. In addition, Barrow is located near the Arctic Circle, so there’s a good chance of seeing the northern lights during winter.

In addition to the northern lights, Barrow is also a great place to see polar bears. The town has a population of just over 4,000 people, and it’s the northernmost town in the United States. It is home to one of the largest polar bear populations in Alaska. It’s estimated that around 1,500 polar bears are living in and around Barrow.

It is important to note that there are not many options for accommodation and restaurants in Barrow. Therefore, it is important to plan everything in advance.


Wiseman, located in the Brooks Range, the heart of the arctic circle, is a small town with around 10-15 residents that is famous for its northern lights viewing opportunities. The town sits directly under the aurora oval and hence, is the most active part of the northern lights and is usually where you’ll see the most vibrant colors. Wiseman also has several northern lights viewing festivals each year, which only add to the excitement of seeing this natural phenomenon.


If you want to see the northern lights in all their glory, Alaska is the place to be. With plenty of dark sky preserves and locations that offer optimal viewing conditions, it’s no wonder this state is a hotspot for aurora chasers. So what are you waiting for? Book your trip to Alaska today and prepare to be dazzled by one of nature’s most spectacular light shows.


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