Best Places to See the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are a spectacular light display that occurs in the night sky every year, typically in the winter, in certain countries. During an auroral display, the sky is illuminated in a dazzling array of colors, including green, purple, yellow, blue, orange, and red. Many travelers seek out this unique natural phenomenon.
However, the Northern Lights can be unpredictable, so it is advisable to plan your trip carefully and allow several nights to increase your chances of seeing them. Let’s dive in and discover what you need and where to go to catch this one-of-a-kind display.
When to Plan a Northern Lights Trip
Plan your trip between fall and spring for the best viewing of the Northern Lights. The months between September and March are especially spectacular for solar activity. The prime viewing time depends on where you want to see them.
What to Pack for a Northern Lights Trip
If you’re planning a trip to see the Northern Lights, you’ll be headed somewhere cold, so you’ll want to be prepared to withstand the low temperatures at night. Keeping your feet and legs warm and dry and layering your clothing is the key to staying out for a longer viewing time.
Pike Trail has the perfect 100% waterproof socks to ensure your feet stay toasty warm on your trip to see the Northern Lights. Triple-layered, anti-microbial, and designed to keep you going on long trips, the Pike Trail waterproof socks are your must-have for taking care of your feet. The 100% waterproof socks from Pike Trail are suitable for all ages. The socks come in four colors and sizes to fit the whole family.
Along with their 100% waterproof socks, Pike Trail Snow Gaiters are another great must-have on your Northern Lights packing list. The Snow Gaiters will protect your lower legs and pants from the snow, water, and underbrush you’re trekking through. The Pike Trail Gaiters are constructed from rip-stop nylon and 90D polyester, making them durable against the most challenging conditions. In addition to the quality of the materials, the Pike Trail Gaiters come in nine color combinations and are fully adjustable, fitting most calf sizes.
Taking a trip to the Northern Lights may mean hiking into the best viewing spots. In that case, you’ll want to be prepared for the rough terrain with a set of carbon-fiber trekking poles. The trekking poles from Pike Trail are 30% lighter than aluminum poles. The poles come with heavy-duty latches, wrist straps, a sleek carry bag, hiking tips, and snow baskets. Increase your stability on the trails of your next Northern Lights trip with the trekking poles from Pike Trail.
A good show of the Northern Lights can range anywhere from five minutes to a few hours, depending on the time of year and your viewing location. The broad time range means you’ll want to find a comfortable sitting spot and let your eyes adjust before the show.
Bringing along a camping chair is an excellent idea for your next Northern Lights getaway. The Pike Trail Ultralight Compact Camping Chair is the perfect addition to your trip. Weighing only 2.2 pounds, the ultra-compact camp chair from Pike Trail holds up to 330 pounds and features two cup holders and a carry bag. The chair comes in six colors and snaps together in seconds, making it easy to enjoy comfort on the go.
To keep your essentials close on your Northern Lights trip, especially your camera you’ll want to have ready, be sure to bring a lightweight hiking bag, like the Pike Trail Waist Pack. The Waist Pack from Pike Trail is a small, waterproof pack that allows you to carry your essentials while keeping you effortlessly hands-free. The Waist Pack comes in two colors and is adjustable to fit most sizes.
Best Places to See the Northern Lights
The best places to see the Northern Lights are dark areas with little artificial light in the northern hemisphere. Places like Alaska, Finland, Canada, and Sweden are some of the most popular destinations for the ultimate Northern Lights excursions. Wherever you decide to view them, you’ll want to give yourself a few days in case they don’t appear right away.
Here are some of the most popular destinations to get the best views of the Northern Lights.
Reykjavik, the vibrant capital of Iceland, is a great place to see the Northern Lights. Öskjuhlið, a densely wooded area within the city, offers an excellent vantage point for viewing the Aurora Borealis. Keep in mind that the weather in Iceland can be challenging, which may make it difficult to get a clear view of the lights.
You may also have some luck viewing the Northern Lights along the Golden Circle, a 190-mile loop in southern Iceland that features waterfalls, geysers, and a volcanic crater. Despite the potentially difficult weather conditions, Iceland is a stunning country that is well worth a visit.
Fairbanks, the third largest city in Alaska, is a great place to see the Northern Lights. Located just a short drive from the city, you'll find some of the region's clearest skies and coldest temperatures.
One option for viewing the aurora borealis is to take a tour that leaves from Fairbanks and travels across the Arctic Circle to chase the lights in Alaska's untouched wilderness. This tour offers a unique opportunity to witness the Northern Lights in a stunning, natural setting. Unlike most places' traditional September through May viewing season, you’ll want to visit Alaska from August through April for prime shows.
While it is possible to see the Northern Lights from Helsinki, Finland, it is also worth considering a trip to smaller towns like Levi, Ruka, and Rovaniemi in Lapland. These locations offer a variety of winter activities, such as dog sledding, snowshoeing, and reindeer herding.
In Rovaniemi, you can visit Santa's Village and meet Father Christmas. These towns have become popular destinations for viewing the Northern Lights. As a result, a range of unique accommodations has sprung up, including traditional huts, luxury treehouses, and glass igloos, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the experience of seeing the Aurora Borealis.
Yellowknife, located in Canada's Northwest Territories, is known for having some of the world's brightest and most frequent displays of the Northern Lights. This is due to the region's low levels of light pollution and clear winter skies. While you can also see the Aurora Borealis from Jasper and Churchill, many people find that the displays in Yellowknife are particularly vibrant and impressive.
Plan Your Next Northern Lights Getaway With Pike Trail Gear
Get the gear you need to make your next trip to see the Northern Lights unforgettable with the best winter gear from Pike Trail. Pike Trail has everything you need to hit the winter head, from Snow Gaiters and 100% waterproof socks to lightweight chairs and trekking poles. Get started today.