Let the northern lights show you their true colors.
The Yukon is home to nature’s most coveted light show: the northern lights. And for the next few years, they’ll be at their peak. Increased solar activity means the lights will be brighter, more intense, and more frequent than they’ve been in a decade.
Luckily, we’ve got the inside scoop on how to catch them at their best. From the ideal time of year to the location, and even who to ask, here are the top tips to ensure you don’t miss out on this natural phenomenon.
Know when and where to do it
Although they are visible from mid-August to mid-April, the best chance of catching the northern lights (a.k.a. aurora borealis) is during the first few weeks of winter. Ideal viewing conditions consist of dark and clear nights (preferably moonless) with a magic window between 10 pm and 3 am. If you’re lucky, you’ll get front row tickets to the spectacle from your very own backyard.
For all other times, we recommend driving out of town to get past the city lights. If you’re in the Whitehorse area, take the scenic route towards Fish Lake or Chadburn Lake Road (please stay on the main road). In the darkness, you’ll see the sky explode with colour as your Instagram photos explode with “likes.”
What happens when good ol’ aurora decides to pay us a surprise visit? Chances are, if you’re sitting at a bar, someone will yell “northern lights!” and a big, happy huddle of strangers will abandon their drinks in unison and storm toward the too-small door.
But if you want something a little more reliable, we recommend an aurora viewing app such as My Aurora Forecast or checking out Aurora Forecast. After all, there's nothing more trustworthy than the internet—unless it's that Nigerian Prince. He still owes us a lot of money.
If a guided aurora tour is more your pace, get ready to be spoiled for choice. The Yukon has a plethora of northern lights tours and experiences including cabins, teepees, lodges, and dog sledding excursions. And don’t worry about the cold—most tour operators will rent winter outerwear or include it in their packages.
With so many ways to view the aurora borealis in the Yukon, about the only way you can't view it is from 36,000 feet on a B737 charging 900km/h straight into the northern lights. Oh...never mind. Apparently, you can do that too.
What's better than seeing the northern lights? Seeing Santa Claus arm wrestling Big Foot. But we don't live in Imagination Land, so a close second would be seeing the northern lights while relaxing in a piping hot pool. Imagine a 47° Celsius soak in natural mineral water as the sky above tries really, really hard to impress you. That, my friend, could be you at the Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs in Whitehorse.
We didn’t have to think too hard to come up with another unique spot to view the northern lights. In fact, we didn’t have to think at all—the Midnight Dome was a given. And what is the Midnight Dome, you ask? Only the most scenic lookout high above the city of Dawson where folks gather to watch the midnight sun during the summer, and the northern lights during the winter. With views of the Yukon River and Klondike Valley, you wouldn’t want to leave this place. And we wouldn’t ask you to. Unless you’re yodelling really terribly. Then we might.