Some of the best spots to catch Mother Nature’s greatest light show are right here on the North American continent. The northern lights, or Aurora Borealis, is a unique display visible from a number of locations, including Canada. Instead of planning an overseas trip to catch a glimpse of the celestial spectacle, consider these destinations just across the border.
See The Northern Lights In These 6 Places In Canada
1. Whitehorse, Yukon
Each fall, Yukon nights are illuminated by the northern lights, as shimmering bursts of color dance across the sky. With plenty of options for viewing the aurora borealis, Yukon is a top-notch destination for travelers seeking this natural wonder. Any place along the auroral zone, such as Whitehorse, is best for the views. Lodging options in Yukon are also particularly favorable for those who want to stake out a prime viewing location. Lakeside lodges, cabins, tents, and cottages are just a few of the accommodations where travelers can await the aurora borealis in the heart of nature. And if, by some chance, the lights aren’t dancing across the sky, visitors can see them indoors at the Northern Lights Centre at Watson Lake.
2. Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, Yukon’s eastern neighbor, is also along the auroral zone. During the winter months, travelers will have one of the best chances to see the lights in Yellowknife. Mid-November to the beginning of April are the optimal months, but that doesn’t mean you’ll miss the aurora borealis if you visit late summer to early autumn. Keep an eye out for a Northern Lighthouse, which are located throughout the city, and designated to alert viewers of an active aurora in the evening forecast.
3. Iqaluit, Nunavut
Nunavut is a choice destination, both for viewing the northern lights and for cultural engagement. The territory was separated from the Northwest Territories in 1999 and is now mostly governed by the Inuit. With beautiful art and cultural exhibits that showcase life unique to the region, Iqaluit is a landmark for its collections. Iqaluit is Nunavut’s capital and also its largest city. Not only is Iqaluit a great place to see the northern lights, but it can serve as a base for numerous arctic activities, including polar bear-viewing, kayaking, and ice fishing.
4. Northern Labrador, Newfoundland and Labrador
See the northern lights after a day of snowmobiling in eastern Canada. Adventure awaits in Newfoundland and Labrador, where more than 1,500 kilometers of trails span the province. Fishing and hunting are popular in the region as well. One of the best features of Canada’s easternmost province is the pristine quality of nature found in Newfoundland and Labrador. Much of Labrador is still largely untouched, making the area a perfect naturescape to view the lights.
5. Athabasca Country, Alberta
Northern Alberta is a hotbed for scientists and aurora seekers who want to get a glimpse of the northern lights in all their glory. Alberta is home to Athabasca University’s Geophysical Observatory, one of 18 stations in North America studying the magnetic effects of the aurora borealis on the earth. Though the observatory isn’t open to the public, the surrounding area sets a captivating scene from which to watch the skies.
6. Canadian Rockies, Alberta and British Columbia
Catch a beautiful view of the northern lights from Banff National Park. The low pollution levels and complete darkness elevate the park to prime aurora-viewing territory. On some nights, visitors might see the lights glow above the town. But to maximize viewing experience, head for these nearby locations. Lake Minnewanka, one of the best places to view the aurora borealis within the park, is just a ten minute drive outside of Banff’s town center. Castle Junction is also highly recommended, situated about halfway between the park and Lake Louise on the Bow Valley Parkway. Glacier-fed Peyto Lake is another top pick, stunning at all times of day, but especially breathtaking in the glow of the lights.
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This article was written by Hanna Choi.