Best Time to See the Northern Lights in Alaska Alaska’s northern lights season is between mid – September and late April , peaking in March , though it’s a season defined more by its long, dark nights than by solar activity.
city of Fairbanks
The northern lights occur all four seasons of the year , although they are harder to see under the Midnight Sun. The Interior (especially Fairbanks) and Far North regions are considered the best in Alaska for northern lights viewing, although the aurora can be spotted anywhere in Alaska .
The most reliable chances to see Alaska’s northern lights (also known as the Aurora Borealis ) are in Fairbanks, and above the Arctic Circle. If you visit Alaska in November, December or January, you will experience a very short period of daylight providing a unique experience in the high northern hemisphere.
When is the best month to visit Alaska? You can’t go wrong visiting Alaska anytime between May 10 and September 15. The days are long, nature is in full bloom, and the air is alive with energy. But, for the absolute best time to visit Alaska, shoot for June 15 to July 15.
Due to Alaska’s northerly latitude, the requisite darkness is elusive in summer, when daylight lasts as long as 21 hours a day. The May to September cruise season coincides exactly with the least likely time of year to see the northern lights , which are generally visible from late September through April.
There is no official season since the Northern Lights are almost always present, day and night . Caused by charged particles from the sun hitting atoms in Earth’s atmosphere and releasing photons, it’s a process that happens constantly.
Coldfoot, a town in Alaska’s Brooks Range mountains, offers the best chance of witnessing the Alaska Northern Lights . With a slightly longer season than Iceland , stretching from mid-September through late April, Alaska is a great no-passport-required option for U.S. residents.
Fairbanks’ Aurora Season is from August 21 to April 21 and the aurora will be visible in Fairbanks an average of four out of five nights when the sky is clear and dark enough. Scientifically speaking, the aurora is dancing above year-round, but we can only see it during the Aurora Season when we have dark enough skies.
The cheapest ticket to Alaska from the United States found in the last 72 hours was $66 one-way, and $178 round-trip. The most popular route is Chicago O’Hare Intl to Anchorage and the cheapest round-trip airline ticket found on this route in the last 72 hours was $269.
But here’s the good news: The time is right to get a glimpse of the aurora borealis . Thanks to longer hours of darkness and clear night skies, December through March is usually the best time to observe this elusive natural phenomenon (though you can sometimes see the northern lights starting as early as August ).
As the 49th State, U.S. residents don’t need a passport to go to Alaska , but as of October 1, 2020, you will need a REAL ID. REAL ID compliant identification includes a state-issued REAL ID, U.S. Passport , military ID, or other form of compliant ID.
Shortest Day of the Year
|Juneau||Inside Passage (Southeast Alaska Panhandle)||6 hours 22 minutes|
|Anchorage||Southcentral||5 hours 28 minutes|
|Fairbanks||Interior||3 hours 42 minutes|
|Barrow||The Arctic: 330 miles north of Arctic Circle||67 days of darkness|
Most tour companies will pick up guests from any Fairbanks hotel or accommodation as part of the package price. Evening tours run from 9 p.m. to about 4 a.m. and average $75 to $85 per person, while more extensive tours like the Northern Alaska fly/drive Arctic Circle viewing tour begins at $269 per person.
If you love deep, dark winter punctuated by the dazzle of holiday activities, December is an exhilarating time to visit Alaska . The days are short, the nights are long, and usually, the landscape has been stunningly transformed by a durable white cover.