best place to see the Northern Lights in the United States
Feb 21, 2024 By Sean William

Have you ever dreamed of witnessing the spectacular light show, the aurora borealis, more commonly known as the northern lights? Do not think your dream is a far-fetched fantasy – with just one small trip to Fairbanks, Alaska, you can witness this natural phenomenon firsthand and be mesmerized by its beauty.

With few places in the world offering such an exceptional view of these vibrant colors dancing across the night sky, Fairbanks will impress even the most dedicated stargazers.

From stunning displays of green and blue to rare outbursts of intense red hues, everyone should consider experiencing this breathtaking sight at least once in their lifetime. Explore what makes Fairbanks such a great destination for seeing the northern lights!

Small Town in Alaska the Best Place to See the Northern Lights

1. Viator

Viator is a small town about 20 miles north of Fairbanks and provides some of the best views of the northern lights in Alaska. Viator is situated on top of a hill that overlooks Fairbanks, giving visitors an unobstructed view of the sky at night.

2. Chena Hot Springs

Chena Hot Springs is a hot spring resort located about 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks and offers some of the most spectacular displays of the aurora borealis in all of Alaska. The area features numerous hiking trails and other outdoor activities during daylight hours and hot springs for relaxing after dark.

3. Cleary Summit

Cleary Summit is one of the best places to see the northern lights in Alaska due to its high elevation and minimal light pollution. Located about 25 miles south of Fairbanks, the summit is a popular destination for aurora chasers and offers stunning views of the valley below.

4. Denali National Park

Denali National Park is one of Alaska’s most beautiful places to view the northern lights from. The park extends over 6 million acres, making it an ideal location for long-exposure photography of the night sky and a great spot to experience Alaska's natural beauty during day trips.

5. Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park holds some of the best spots in Alaska for viewing the northern lights due to its vast landscape and minimal light pollution. This state park is located about 35 miles east of Anchorage and offers a variety of outdoor activities, from hiking to camping.

6. Donnely Dome

Donnely Dome is a mountain peak about 55 miles southeast of Fairbanks and offers exceptional views of the aurora borealis in Alaska. The area provides a wide-open view of the night sky and minimal light pollution, making it one of the best places to watch for the northern lights.

7. White Mountains National Recreation Area

The White Mountains provide some of the most spectacular northern lights views due to their high elevation and clear night skies. This recreation area is situated along the Richardson Highway and is ideal for watching and photographing these natural phenomena in Alaska.

8. Goose Lake State Recreation Site

Goose Lake State Recreation Site is located on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula and is one of the best spots in the state to view the aurora borealis. Located approximately 70 miles southwest of Anchorage, this area offers stunning night sky views and easy access to nearby camping sites for staying overnight.

9. Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual event held every March that allows visitors to see the northern lights of Alaska while participating in this traditional dog sled race. The course passes through many remote areas in Alaska, offering amazing night sky views from high elevations on the trail.

10. Kachemak Bay State Park

Kachemak Bay State Park is situated in the heart of Homer, Alaska, and is one of the best places to view the northern lights due to its location away from major cities.

This park offers breathtaking views of Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet, as well as a variety of activities from fishing and camping to kayaking and hiking for those looking for something to do during the day.

11. Midnight Sun Festival

The Midnight Sun Festival is an annual event in Fairbanks, Alaska, and offers one of the best opportunities to view the aurora borealis during the summer months. With minimal light pollution in the area, visitors can witness amazing displays of the northern lights from this unique festival each year.

12. Nome River State Recreation Site

Nome River State Recreation Site is situated along the Bering Sea coastline and provides some of Alaska’s best views of the northern lights. This recreation site features a variety of outdoor activities such as kayaking, camping, fishing, and more for day trips or overnight stays.

13. Petersburg Marine Science Center

Petersburg Marine Science Center is located on Mitkof Island in Alaska and is a great spot for viewing the northern lights due to its location away from major cities. The center offers educational programs year-round and access to nearby hiking trails and kayaking trips in case visitors are looking for something else to do during their visit.

14. Talkeetna

Talkeetna is located about 125 miles north of Anchorage and provides some of the best views of the aurora borealis in all of Alaska. This area features a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and more for those looking for something else to do during the day.

15. Unalaska

Unalaska is situated off the Aleutian Islands chain and provides some of the best views of the northern lights in Alaska. This area offers a variety of activities, from fishing to kayaking, as well as access to nearby whale-watching tours and other outdoor adventures.

16. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is one of the largest national parks in the United States and offers unparalleled views of the northern lights due to its remote location away from major cities.

This park features numerous hiking trails, camping sites, and other outdoor activities for those looking for something else to do during their visit.

17. Yukon River Cruise

A Yukon River Cruise is one of the most unique ways to view the northern lights in Alaska from the comfort of a boat. This cruise offers stunning night sky views and access to nearby fishing spots and other outdoor activities along the river banks.

No matter your preference for viewing the aurora borealis in Alaska, there is something for everyone. From remote mountain peaks to rural villages and bustling cities, Alaska provides some of the best opportunities in the world for witnessing this natural phenomenon firsthand.

FAQs

What activities are available for viewing the northern lights in Alaska?

There are a variety of activities available for viewing the northern lights in Alaska, including hiking, camping, kayaking, fishing, whale-watching tours, and more.

What is the best time of year to view the northern lights in Alaska?

The best time of year to view the northern lights in Alaska typically occurs during late August and early April when the nights are long and dark. However, you can still witness this amazing phenomenon anytime throughout the year.

Is it dangerous to watch the aurora borealis?

Watching the northern lights is not dangerous, but knowing your surroundings is important. You should avoid bodies of water or steep inclines for safety purposes. Additionally, make sure you plan how you will get home if needed.

Conclusion

This article has helped you learn more about some of the best places in Alaska to view the northern lights and appreciate their beauty. Whether you are a beginner stargazer or an experienced sky-watcher, there is something for everyone when viewing the aurora borealis in Alaska.

So grab your camera, bundle up, and witness nature’s most spectacular light show!

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