【Travel Tips】 How to see the Northern Lights in Fairbanks Alaska in Summer?
I went to see the Northern Lights on a trip to Alaska.
At first, I was very worried about whether or not I would be able to see the Northern Lights because it was summer and there was no guarantee with its nature phenomenon.
I thought it would be fine even if I could not see the Northern Lights at first.
However, I have come all the way to Alaska in the U.S., that is a lot of things and need to spend money too, so if I could, I would like to see the Northern Lights, Of course, right?.
I thought it would be nice to go on an aurora tour to see it because they probably know where the best spot is and it comes out.
So then when I looked into it like googled it, the tour prices were quite expensive. The cost of the trip alone was already over my budget, so I decided to do it my own way so that I could see the Northern Lights.
So, I decided to not go on a tour.
This article is a must-see for those who want to see the Northern Lights on a budget, on their own, without a tour.
I will share my experiences with you.
I hope it will be useful for your trip.
This article is based on:
- If you are planning to visit Fairbanks, Alaska in the USA to see the Northern Lights in the summer, this article is for you.
- You want to save money on aurora viewing without tours.
- Those who want to view the Aurora Borealis while spending their free time without relying on tours.
This article is for those who want to see the Northern Lights in Alaska U.S.
First of all,
The climate in Fairbanks is during the daytime in summer, it gets very hot when the sun comes out, so I wore a T-shirt.
At night, it gets quite cold, so a hoodie or a light down jacket is a good idea. (Full-fledged down jackets and warm clothing are not really necessary in Alaska in the summer, unless you are going to a very high altitude place.)
I brought from home only a lightweight Stussy nylon jacket and a T-shirt.
I bought a light hoodie at North Pole on the way up, that outfit with the weather was just about perfect. However, if you want to wait outside for the Northern Lights through the night, you will need to dress a little warmer. (If you are going to the mountains, you should definitely bring a raincoat. I got soaked with rain and almost died from the cold.)
Now that you have prepared your clothes,
The next step is to decide when and where to wait for the Northern Lights.
And also I recommend you need to download an app.
With this app, you can always check the time, probability, and location of the Northern Lights.
Honestly, it has been a huge help.
Let me tell you a little about how I used the app.
As you can see in the picture, the green one is the Aurora Borealis.
Fairbanks is quite far to the left, so at this time, there is no chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis. The data is taken around 10:45pm on Sep 12.
The best location is presented from this photo. The time is the same as earlier, around 10:45pm on Sep 12.
This information tells us the time and day when we can see the aurora beautifully. Sep 16 and 17 show us that the color and vividness level of the aurora will be beautiful. You can also see the aurora in yellow on 3. The day I was able to see the aurora was 3 (yellow).
This picture shows the probability of seeing the Northern Lights. You can also see the cloudy condition here. The picture shows the probability of seeing the aurora at around 10:45pm on Sep 12, but it is not possible to see it.
I`m not exaggerating when I say that thanks to this app, we got to see it!
If you are not on a tour, be sure to download it.
Next is some information from my own experience.
The basic information on when the Aurora Borealis appears is
The best time to see the Northern Lights is from late August to March.
I was in Fairbanks, Alaska from Aug 24 to Sep 1.
I was able to see them 3 times. I was too lucky.
The first time was on 8/28 at 1:48am, cloudy.
The location was from the free parking lot of “Chena Hot Springs Resort”.
I was in the car when suddenly the sky turned a little green, I went outside and looked up and there was the Aurora Borealis!
It was only for a moment, so I think I could see it for about 10 minutes, but my feeling is that it was almost gone after about 5 minutes. It was like I had my camera ready and then it was gone.
As for what time of day would be best are it is from 10pm to 2am.
Some people said that they could see them in the morning, but in my experience, most of the time I could see them was between 10pm and 2am.
It was cloudy and sunny all the time, so I took pictures of the sky between 10pm and 2am on Aug 24, 25, 26, 27, and finally saw something like it on the 28th. It was cloudy and raining on and off on the 28th, so I think I was lucky to see it.
The second time I was able to see it was after the morning of Aug 29 from 11:30pm to 1:30am, clear skies.
The location was a dark mountain stretch of “Chena Hot Springs Rd”.
At this time, I was very hopeful because the overcast had cleared up and I could even see stars in the sky.
Thanks to that expectation, I was able to spend a strange time under the Northern Lights for about 2 hours with the coyotes’ howling.
The pictures don’t do justice to the atmosphere of the place.
It was really a very nice experience in my life.
At that time, the aurora borealis was quite large.
It was quite a big aurora.
For the detailed location, click here.
If you look up “Two Rivers” on google map, you can find it.
I was able to see a very large aurora here, so if you have tried many places on your own and still can’t see it, I recommend this road because it has a good chance.
*In fact, I saw what looked like a group of tour people while driving down this road late at night! Maybe tour companies are also bringing travelers to this road here. I didn’t stop the car and ask them directly, so that’s just my guess.
Third time around.
“George Parks HWY #3” a little south of Fairbanks.
The time I was able to see it was Aug 30 12:18am-12:33am.
This photo was taken from a freeway rest stop.
The detailed address is Anderson AK. You can search for “Julius Creek” or “Fireweed Roadhouse” on google maps. There is a freeway rest stop in that area, so you can park your car there and see it.
Again, I was only able to see it for a fairly short time, but a very large area was green.
- The first time was outside the hotels parking area at “Chena Hot Springs Resort.”
- The second time was on the street “Chena Hot Springs Rd.”
- The third time was at a freeway rest stop on “George Parks HWY #3.”
The first resort is the one that can be seen without a car.
The second and third times you need a car are both from the roadside rest stops.
Frankly, I think you have a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights if you have a car, because you can wait in the car while observing the scenery outside. The Aurora Borealis appear and disappear suddenly, so I think it is better to have a car to some extent to get to the point (you need to check the location with the app from time to time. If the green is in the Fairbanks area, you have a good chance!) When it got dark, I was always watching the sky from 10pm-2:30am. It is good to have a small snack because you will get hungry.
For car rentals, please refer to our other article “【Fairbanks】 The information of Car Rental and Travel Experience in my summer vacation” for car rental recommendations. The service is also excellent.
That is all.
As well as going there, if you search online, there are many companies that offer aurora tours, and if you check out the tours, you will find that they are all different in price. I think tours are also a good choice because you can experience places you cannot go by yourself. You will probably be with other tourists, so it is also a great way to make friends with other tourists.
Especially when renting a car costs a lot of money (because the more roads you can go, the more you have to pay for the car, and the more you have to pay for each road), I think a tour is a good option in such a case.
This article talked about some tips on how to see the Northern Lights in Fairbanks Alaska in the summer, and I guess that Alaska in the summer is the best!
And for those who want to have more freedom of movement than on a tour, I introduced information for those who want to keep their travel costs as low as possible.
If you found this article useful for your trip, please let us know.
Thank you for reading.