The Northern Lights are beautiful to see. Many people go to see the Nothern Lights in northern Scandinavia, but you can also see them in some parts of the United States if you know where to go.
Alaska is among the USA’s best places to see the Northern Lights. Alaska has many top locations where you will have a pretty good chance to see the northern lights. The Nothern Lights viewing season is from the end of August until about mid-April; in some areas of Alaska, you can see the Northern Lights 250 days out of the year because parts of Alaska are right in the auroral oval, so it offers majestic views of the northern lights.
Table of Contents
- Where To See The Northern Lights In The USA
- Best Time To See The Northern Lights In Alaska
Alaska Is One Of The Best Places In The USA, And The World To See The Northern Lights – Top Locations
- Fairbanks, Alaska At Creamer’s Field
- Fairbanks, Alaska At North Pole – Chena Lakes
- Fairbanks, Alaska At Steese Highway To Cleary Summit
- Outside Fairbanks, Alaska – Murphy Dome
- Outside Fairbanks, Alaska – Chena River State Recreation Area & Chena Hot Springs Road
- Northern Lights Near Coldfoot Camp, Alaska
- Northern Lights At Wiseman, Alaska
- Northern Lights Outside Anchorage In Talkeetna, Alaska
- Other Places You Can See The Northern Lights In The USA
- Related Questions
Where To See The Northern Lights In The USA
The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, are a stunning phenomenon that can be seen in many northern countries. In the United States, you will most likely see these beautiful lights in northern states such as Alaska and northern parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota.
The best place to see the Northern light in the US is Alaska. The Smithsonian Magazine said this about Alaska and the Northern Lights viewing:
Not only is Alaska one of the best places to see the Nothern lights in the United States, but it is also one of the best places in the world to see this natural phenomenon.
Best Time To See The Northern Lights In Alaska
The best time to see the northern lights in Alaska is between August 21st and April 21st; this is considered the aurora season. During this period, your chances of seeing the northern lights are pretty good; usually, the northern lights can be seen on a clear night for four out of five days.
The key to seeing the northern lights aurora is that you must be in a location where it is very dark, and the sky must be clear. Because Alaska offers many clear nights during the aurora season, your chances to see the northern lights are pretty good.
The best place to see the Nothern Lights in the United States is Fairbanks, Alaska, and other parts of Northern Alaska. One of the advantages of seeing them in Fairbanks is that you do not need to go very far outside the city to see the northern lights.
Alaska Is One Of The Best Places In The USA, And The World To See The Northern Lights – Top Locations
Alaska is one of the best places to see the northern lights in the United States. Fairbanks, Alaska, is convenient for you to see the northern lights.
Alaska, Fairbanks is located near the auroral oval – where auroras tend to form – and its long hours of darkness in wintertime make this an ideal location for viewing the northern lights.
Here are some of the best places around Alaska to see the Northern Lights.
Fairbanks, Alaska At Creamer’s Field
Creamer Field Migratory Waterflow Refuge is about 2 miles or 3 kilometers from Downtown Fairbanks, Alaska.
Creamer’s Field in Fairbanks is a 2,200-acre bird sanctuary located in the city limits of Fairbanks. Creamer’s Field is a vast open space on the north side of the Fairbanks and offers excellent visibility for the northern lights.
Also, it is an excellent place to see the Northern lights because the area has few artificial lights. The area offers some winter trails you can also walk to explore the winter lights.
Because of its proximity to Fairbanks, it is a popular place to try to see the Northern lights. You should bring a headlamp or flashlight when visiting this area.
Fairbanks, Alaska At North Pole – Chena Lakes
Another area to see the northern lights outside Fairbanks, Alaska, is the Chena Lake Recreation Area, located just outside the North Pole area, off the Richardson Highway in Fairbanks.
The Chena Lake Recreation Area is a 2,000-acre park with open areas and a large lake. The great thing about the Chena Lake Area is that it is an area that has plenty of places to park your car and is also away from the city lights, so you can more easily see the northern lights.
River Park and Lake Park are the two areas in the Chena Recreation Area where you can see the aurora of the northern lights. If you want to go for a nighttime walk in the area, there are trails around the lake where you can also see the northern lights aurora; we recommend you bring a headlamp or flashlight.
Alternatively, you can do cross-country skiing or snowshoeing at night to also view the Northern lights in the Chena Lake area.
Fairbanks, Alaska At Steese Highway To Cleary Summit
Another area you can view the Northern lights is at the Steese Highway to Cleary Summit outside Fairbanks, Alaska. Steese Highway is 11 miles or 32 kilometers from downtown Fairbanks.
There are areas you can safely pull off the road to see the northern lights safely, including these areas:
- Felix Pedro Monument Area, Mile 16.6 – This area is plowed and has a large safe area with some signage.
- Mile 17 – This vast area is plowed with a clear, unobstructed view.
- Mile 19 – Is also a sizeable plowed area with a clear, unobstructed view.
- Cleary Summit, Mile 20 – Cleary Summit has an elevation area of 2,233 feet, and on a clear day, you can see the Tanana Valley to the south of the Summit and the White Mountains to the north.
Cleary Summit is a popular area to see the northern lights, so in consideration for others, you should turn off your car headlights as safely as possible. There may be many tour buses and others to see this area’s northern lights.
Outside Fairbanks, Alaska – Murphy Dome
Another area is Murphy Dome which is located 25 miles or 40 kilometers from Downtown Fairbanks. Murphy Dome is about a 40-minute Drive from downtown Fairbanks, Alaska.
Murphy Dome is the highest mountain point close to Fairbanks, Alaska, at 2,877 feet or 877 meters. You can enjoy some scenic vistas at the Murphy Dome, especially as you climb up toward the dome, which has a great viewing area over the valley below.
Murphy Dome gives you some excellent viewing areas with an unobstructed view of the northern lights aurora. Driving up to Murphy Dome has many curves and twists; a 4-wheel drive is recommended in winter.
Outside Fairbanks, Alaska – Chena River State Recreation Area & Chena Hot Springs Road
The Chena State Recreation Area is an area you can access via the Chena Hot Springs Road, which starts about 4 miles or 6 kilometers from downtown Fairbanks and continue for another 58 miles or 93 kilometers.
This area also offers excellent aurora viewing areas along the Chena Hot Springs Road from Fairbanks to the Chena Hot Spring Resort. The Chena Hot Springs Resort is a renowned aurora viewing location located at about mile 58.
Along the route, there are also some other notable viewing areas, such as:
- Nordale Road
- Two Rivers and Pleasant Valley communities.
- Mile 25
- Mile 35
- Mile 37
There are also some campgrounds along the route where you may see the Northern lights.
Northern Lights Near Coldfoot Camp, Alaska
Another area in Alaska that can offer some great northern light views is Coldfoot, Alaska. Coldfoot was once a gold-mining settlement but now is essentially a truck stop.
An advantage of Coldfoot is that it is situated above the Artic Circle and is the Brooks Mountain Range near the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and the Artic Wildlife Refuge; there are plenty of spots here to try to see the northern lights.
The area is also ideal for backcountry snowshoeing, wildlife viewing, and dog mushing.
The Coldfoot Camp does have some rustic accommodations in trailers that once housed the Alaskan pipeline workers. And there are some cafes and even saloons. This area is a place for someone who wants an authentic Alaskan adventure.
Northern Lights At Wiseman, Alaska
If you are already at Coldfoot, you can also go to Wiseman, 15 miles north of Coldfoot Camp. This area is also 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle and 270 miles from Fairbanks.
The small village of Wiseman has about 12 full-time residents and is located in Alaska’s Brooks Range. It is an off-the-grid wilderness retreat. Wiseman has more dog sleds than people.
One advantage of Wiseman is that it sits right under the auroral oval, making it one of the best places in Alaska and the world to view the northern lights. In Wiseman, you can expect to see the spectacular views of the northern lights in the sky about 250 nights a year, especially during the Aurora season from late August to mid-April.
Wiseman has a few accommodations you can choose to stay at if you want to visit the area.
Northern Lights Outside Anchorage In Talkeetna, Alaska
Talkeetna, Alaska, is located about 115 miles from Anchorage and is in south-central Alaska. It is also at the base of Denali, the tallest mountain peak in North America.
This area offers some great northern light views and is a popular place outside Anchorage.
You can drive from Anchorage to Talkeetna, a great area to see. Talkeetna offers old clapboard buildings, log cabins, and roadhouses that date back to the 1917s.
The town has historic fun and many outdoor winter sports and festivals. If you are looking for an adventure where you can also shop and see some local culture and foods, this may be the place for you to go.
Once a mining town, this village is filled with galleries, shops, restaurants, and a brewery; for TV buffs, this is the town that inspired the quirky town of Cicely in the show Northern Exposure.
If you decide to visit in December, there is a monthlong Winterfest. The Winterfest is filled with many quirky traditions like a Bachelor Auction or the Wilderness Woman Competition. There is lots of fun going on during December. You can find out more about Winterfest by clicking here.
Other Places You Can See The Northern Lights In The USA
Northern Minnesota has several spots for viewing northern lights. The north tip of the state – including Grand Marais and Tettegouche State Park – offers excellent northern light opportunities. Meanwhile, northern Wisconsin is a great place to take in the northern lights; northern parts of the state, such as Bayfield County, generally have clearer skies than more southern areas, so sometimes you can catch a glimpse of the northern lights.
Head to Glacier National Park or Theodore Roosevelt National Park for prime northern lights viewing in Montana and North Dakota. Be sure to bring warm clothes with you as temperatures can get relatively low during wintertime, and remember to see the lights; you will need to have a clear, dark sky.
Alaska is one of the top places to see the Nothern lights in the United States. But if you can not travel up to that area, you can check out going to other parts of the United States as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, and North Dakota.
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