Seeing the Northern Lights in Alaska

The northern lights are one of the most beautiful natural phenomena in the world. It is possible to see them in many places around the world, but some places are better than others. One of these places is Alaska, which offers many opportunities to view northern lights and has been drawing people for years. I have compiled a list below that should help you plan your trip based on your preferred time and location for viewing the northern lights.

Northern Lights in Alaska

What are Northern Lights?

There are numerous places in the world where you can observe the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis. Most often seen in the northern hemisphere, they are caused by particles from the sun interacting with the Earth’s atmosphere.

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. People have observed them for centuries, and different names have been given to them depending on where they are observed.

How are Northern Lights created?

The aurora is created when particles from the sun collide with gas atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere. The result of this interaction is a colorful light show in the sky. Since the northern lights are more visible in northern latitudes, they are named after the northern hemisphere. The dark skies and little light pollution in Alaska make it the perfect place to see the northern lights. Norway and other Scandinavian countries are also great places to see northern lights.

Colors of Northern Lights

A spectacular feature of the northern lights is their beautiful colors. Depending on the atmospheric conditions, the northern lights can appear in a variety of colors, including green, blue, yellow, and red. In some cases, the northern lights even exhibit a purple hue. Northern lights release different wavelengths of light that cause the colors.

Colors of Northern Lights in Alaska

Relationship between the northern lights and the arctic circle

Due to the darkest skies around the Arctic Circle, the northern lights are often visible there. There is little light pollution in the Arctic, which makes it easier to observe the northern lights. Furthermore, the Arctic is a cold region, and colder air enhances the visibility of the aurora borealis.

Best time to see the northern lights

There is a better chance of seeing the northern lights in Alaska during the winter months (late September through early April). Aurora borealis are easier to see this time of year because the nights are longer and the sky is darker. There is less light pollution from the Sun during longer nights. A second reason is the colder winter air, which causes particles in the atmosphere to glow brighter.

Nonetheless, you can see the northern lights at any time of year if the conditions are right. Usually, the best places to see the northern lights are away from city lights, so consider heading into the wild to experience them.

There are many Northern Lights tours available in Alaska.

Best places in Alaska to see the northern lights

Depending on your preferences, there are many different ways to see the northern lights in Alaska. Some people prefer to see them from their homes, while others want to get closer to them in nature. Depending on your comfort level, Alaska has several places where you can see the northern lights.

Denali National Park

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

Winter, however, is a time when many parts of the park are closed, particularly all the lodges and hotels. Northern lights tours are offered by several companies in nearby towns. A typical tour includes transportation, a guide, and refreshments.

Northern Lights at Denali National Park


No matter whether you’re a beginner or a serious Aurora chaser, Fairbanks is a great place to visit. Dark skies and low light pollution make observing the aurora borealis easy in the city. Due to the city’s proximity to the Arctic Circle, winter visitors have a great chance of seeing the northern lights. With its real-time aurora tracker, you can find out what the weather is like, how the temperature is, and when the best time is 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. There are several advantages to viewing the aurora borealis here. There are several lookout points where you can view the northern lights at the resort, which is one of its main advantages. These vantage points offer a fantastic view of the sky and are ideal for spotting the aurora borealis. The Charlie Dome offers a nighttime excursion at 2,600 feet above sea level. It is located about 45 minutes from Fairbanks and it has a 360-degree view of the sky. Aurora borealis are easier to spot this way. 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


Located in Alaska’s northwestern region, Nome is a popular spot for viewing northern lights. Located on Alaska’s Seward Peninsula, the city has some of the best views of the aurora borealis. There is also a good chance of seeing northern lights in Nome since it has relatively clear skies.

Northern Lights in Nome (Seward, Alaska)

Kodiak Island

Located in the Gulf of Alaska, Kodiak Island is the second largest island in the United States. Additionally, bear watching is one of the most popular activities in the area. Due to its remote location and lack of light pollution, it has some of the clearest skies in the country. It is possible to see the aurora borealis in this region from September through April, with the best viewing opportunities occurring in late fall and winter. There are also several glaciers and mountains on the island, which make for a beautiful setting for viewing the aurora borealis.


Alaska’s northernmost city, Barrow, is located above the Arctic Circle. Moreover, it’s the northernmost town in the world. This is a great place to see the northern lights. It has dark skies and little light pollution. Barrow is located near the Arctic Circle, so winter is a good time to see the northern lights.

As well as the northern lights, Barrow is a great place to see polar bears. The town has a population of just over 4,000 people. The area is home to one of the largest populations of polar bears in Alaska. Around 1,500 polar bears are estimated to live in and around Barrow.


This small town in the Brooks Range, located at the heart of the arctic circle, is famous for its northern lights viewing opportunities. Due to its location directly under the aurora oval, this town is usually where you will see the most vibrant northern lights. Every year, Wiseman hosts several northern lights festivals, which only adds to the excitement of seeing these natural phenomena.


If Alaska is the place to see the northern lights in all their glory. The state is a hotspot for aurora chasers due to its abundance of dark sky preserves and optimal viewing conditions. 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.


This blog may contain affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, we may get a small commission if you buy anything. All products and services we endorse have been personally used or come highly recommended to us. These incomes allow us to keep the community supported and ad-free.

2 Responses

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *