Catching a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights dancing across the sky is seldom excluded from a travel bucket list. Also referred to as Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights are as unpredictable as they are unique.Basically, electrically charged particles enter the Earth’s atmosphere via solar wind. These particles collideand react which generates a natural light show so magical, people travel from all over the world to see it. Places near the polar region of the Arctic have a higher chance of witnessing this vivid display. In particular,Canada is home to some of the best spots for a viewing. While it is possible to catch the lights all across the country, the following areas are regarded as hot spots.
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Widely considered to be the best location in the world to view the lights. The sparsely populated city of
Yellowknife experiences long, clear nights. Conditions are usually great here, with a 90% chance ofseeingthe sky glow green. It is home to Aurora Village, a world class outdoor recreation destination centered around viewing the Northern Lights.
The capital of the Yukon is a highly accessible option. Strong city lights can inhibit the view so it is best to journey a few miles outside of the downtown area. Many guided tours operate daily during the winter months. A fun option would be to visit the Takhini Hot Springs and observe the night sky from the relaxing, naturally heated pools.
Another Canadian location boasting prime conditions is the isolated capital of Nunavut. With an average of just four hours of sunlight a day, the small community of Iqaluit guarantees crystal clear skies. This is a great option if you are searching for a more unspoiled backdrop and rugged experience.
Muncho Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia
Northern British Columbia is another possibility. Away from the coastal clouds, sightings of the Northern Lights are reported year-round at Muncho Lake Provincial Park. With the picturesque setting of the lake already providing a breath-taking view, the high chance of catching the lights here is an added bonus.
Jasper National Park, Alberta
Alberta is home to the world’s second largest dark sky reserve. This means it is an area which enjoys extremely limited light pollution and strives to maintain conditions perfect for observing the lights. Jasper National Park is mesmerizing at any time, on any day, but witnessing a dazzling display of Aurora Borealis swirling up above could be indescribable.
The world’s polar bear capital is a brilliant location if you are visiting the Hudson Bay area of Manitoba. It is often considered one of the top three destinations on the planet for watching Aurora Borealis. Reportedly, thenatural marvel of the Northern Lights is to be seen here approximately 300 nights out of the year.
Although these areas are highly recommended, the Northern Lights are never guaranteed. Conditions must beperfect for observing the glowing green, yellow and red streamers pulsating up above. Avoiding light pollutionis essential. To give yourself the best possible chance, it is advised to visit these spots between October and March.
Remember that eTA Canada is required to enter the country.