Northern Lights

Why Fairbanks to see the Northern Lights? At 65 degrees north latitude, Fairbanks is within the “aurora oval,” the area where Northern Lights occur most often and are the brightest. The aurora belt in Alaska’s great Interior and Arctic regions is among the most active in the world, so there few other places on earth providing greater chances of seeing the northern lights. The continental climate in Fairbanks offers many more clear nights than coast area. These made Fairbanks become an ideal starting point to observe the aurora in Alaska. The Fairbanks Visitors Bureau says you have an 80 percent chance of seeing them if you stay there for 3 nights.
To plan a trip ahead, check the Traveler’s Guide to the Aurora for when will be the best time travel to Fairbanks.Read more about “Frequently Asked Questions about Aurora and Answers”

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(Click on the images above to view large version-all photos are shared by our guests)

When to go?

The northern lights occur year-round, however, summer’s constant daylight makes seeing them next to impossible. While there is no guarantee, the aurora is typically can be seen at their most frequent in late August through all winter until early spring towards the end of April , when less daylight leads to darker night skies.

How to see aurora in Fairbanks?

We put together a couple of predictions and general information for you to determining when Aurora might be visible while you are here in Fairbanks. They are include:

The aurora is unpredictable, and no one’s entirely sure when—or where—it’s going to appear. The aurora is most active late at night or early in the morning, clear skies and darkness are essential to see the northern lights. The brightest aurora display is seen during the new moon…

Right Weather Conditions

If it’s clear and dark enough to see stars, there’s a chance you’ll be able to see the aurora. If there’s even partly cloudy skies? You have a chance, but it needs to be a strong aurora for you to see it. Check out these prediction tools:
Find more about Weather in Fairbanks, AK
Click for weather forecast

(Click for Fairbanks Clear Sky Chat)


Right Time of Day

Start looking about an hour and a half after sunset, but peak auroral activity is between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. solar time. (Solar time is 2.5 hours after clock time during daylight saving time (and 1.5 hours after during standard daylight time. That means the best time for seeing the aurora during Alaska’s winter is 11:30 p.m.–3:30 a.m. with the peak at 1:30 a.m. During Alaska’s spring and fall (September and March), the best time to view the aurora is 12:30 a.m. – 4:30 a.m.


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(All photos were taken at Golden Umbrella B&B, Fairbanks, AK)


Best places to see the Northern Lights in Fairbanks

    • Murphy Domes (west side of Fairbanks;Unpaved road)
    • At the university (west ridge)
    • Ester Dome Road (west side of Fairbanks; Unpaved road)
    • Chena Lakes Recreation Area (North Pole direction)
    • Along the Steese Highway north of Fairbanks to the town of Fox
    • Chena Hot Springs Road (take steese highway and turn Chena Hot Spring Rd.)
    • Some turnouts along the Elliot Highway (Take Steese Highway then turn to Elliot Highway)
    • Cleary Summit (off Steese Highway)

Cleary Summit


What to Wear?

For a cold Alaska evening you need:
• Top and bottom base layer
• Warm mid-layers
• A wind-proof coat and wind-proof pants.
• A down-filled or insulated parka.
• Warm socks.
• Good Boots.
• Hat, mittens, glove liners and a scarf or neck gaiter.
• Hand and foot warmers

Or choose to pay about $30-$35/person to stay warm while viewing Aurora during the cold Alaska winter days.The lodge listed below may provide Aurora viewing service, please contact them to get more information.

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List of local tour companies in Fairbanks, Alaska