Fairbanks’ location is ideal for northern lights viewing because it is under the “Auroral Oval,” a ring-shaped zone over the far north where aurora activity is concentrated. Additionally, Fairbanks’ low precipitation and distance from coastal areas contribute to consistently clear nights. All combined these variables make the Fairbanks region an outstanding destination for possible aurora borealis viewing.
Fairbanks’ Aurora Season is from August 21 to April 21 and the aurora will be visible in Fairbanks an average of four out of five nights when the sky is clear and dark enough. Scientifically speaking, the aurora is dancing above year-round, but we can only see it during the Aurora Season when we have dark enough skies.
The northern lights are so prolific in the Fairbanks region and the Arctic that visitors who stay a minimum of three nights and are actively out during the late evening hours increase their chance of seeing the aurora to more than 90 percent!
There are so many different ways, but a great way is to take a northern lights tour with a guide. You can view them from a heated “aurorium” cabin or lodge, see them on a dog sled adventure, on a snow cat tour, via a trip part way up the Dalton Highway or even on a flight above the Arctic Circle. Or perhaps you want to go fishing while you wait and go on an evening ice-fishing adventure on a local lake! All of these are great options, or if you are a do-it-yourself adventurer, you can drive to a nearby vantage point and wait for them to appear. See below for accessible spots around Fairbanks.
Visitors will most typically witness a swirling array of green, teal, and white. An intense aurora can get a purple or magenta edge. The aurora takes on different shapes such as curtains, bands, rays and coronas.
Layers, layers, layers and dress warmly! You will likely be out in the elements for extended periods of time. Rely on synthetic, wool, and fleece materials, especially in the winter. For more on how to dress for winter pursuits, watch this video.
In Fairbanks itself, residents see the northern lights on about eight of every 10 nights. More
The city of Fairbanks, in Alaska, is often cited as the best place to see the Northern Lights in the United States. More
Fairbanks is the best place in the U.S. to take in the northern lights. More
Fairbanks lies directly beneath a band of aurora activity, meaning from August to May, the town regularly experiences a celestial display of green, yellow, and purple. More