What Is The Best Place and Time To See Northern Lights in Alaska

Posted on August 8th, 2023

Ah, the Northern Lights – Mother Nature's very own theatrical performance in the sky! 

The allure of the Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis, is undeniable. It's a celestial dance of colors, a cosmic ballet choreographed by nature itself, painting the Alaskan night skies with ethereal hues of green, pink, and violet. 

It's no surprise that witnessing this natural marvel tops countless bucket lists. But as mesmerizing as they are, the Northern Lights remain elusive to many, often raising questions. 

When exactly is the best time to see northern lights in Alaska? Where should you position yourself for the best views? And how can you capture this magic in a photograph?

Understanding the Magic: What Causes the Northern Lights?

Before we dive into the best time of year to see northern lights, let’s indulge in a bit of cosmic wonderment. These mesmerizing lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are a result of charged particles from the sun colliding with the Earth's atmosphere. The outcome? A brilliant display of colors, dancing and shimmering across the night sky.

Timing is Everything: When to Visit Alaska

Now, the best time to see northern lights is undeniably during the long, dark nights of winter. The ideal window stretches from late September to early April. You may wonder why such a broad window? Well, while the lights are active throughout the year, it's the darkness of Alaskan winters that provides the perfect canvas.

  • September to October: As fall sets in, the nights begin to get darker, and chances of viewing the auroras increase. These months offer a balanced blend of not-too-cold weather and decently long nights.
  • November to February: This period is the darkest, with almost 20 hours of night in the depths of winter. Cold? Absolutely. But this is prime-time viewing season.
  • March to Early April: As spring approaches, the nights start to shorten, but these months are still a great time to catch the lights, with clearer skies and slightly warmer temperatures.

Location, Location, Location: Best Places in Alaska for the Aurora

Alright, so you've got your dates set. Now, where's the best place to see northern lights? Alaska is vast, but here are a few prime spots:

  • Fairbanks: Renowned for its clear skies, it's a favorite amongst Aurora chasers. Just a short drive away from the city lights, and you're in the perfect setting.
  • Brooks Range: Located in Northern Alaska, the isolation ensures minimal light pollution and an intimate experience with the Aurora.
  • Denali National Park: Combine breathtaking landscapes with the Northern Lights, and you’re in for a treat.

Pro Tips for The Ultimate Northern Lights Experience

Let’s face it, viewing the Northern Lights isn't just about picking a time and place. Here are some pro tips to enhance your experience:

  • Stay for a While: The longer your visit, the better your chances. Consider a stay of at least a week to up your odds.
  • Check the Forecast: Yes, there's an Aurora forecast! This will give you an idea of the expected activity.
  • Gear Up: Dress warmly. Alaskan winters are no joke. And don’t forget your camera!

Experience the Magic with Guided Photography Tours

But why go at it alone? For those of you eager to capture the Northern Lights in all their glory, consider joining us on a Guided Photography Tour. Not only will you be at the best spots, but you'll also get expert advice on how to best capture the lights with your camera. After all, there's nothing like a perfectly shot photograph to make your memories everlasting.


Witnessing the Northern Lights is truly a bucket-list experience. And while Alaska offers some of the best views in the world, knowing the best time to visit Alaska and the ideal locations can make all the difference. 

If you’re looking to make this dream a reality, and especially if you’re keen on photographing the spectacle, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We at Capture Wild Alaska are here to make your Northern Lights adventure an unforgettable one. Give us a ring at (907) 799-7876 or shoot us an email at [email protected]

Until then, clear skies and happy viewing!

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