The Northern Lights of Yukon – when and where to see them

posted December 18, 2018


The northern lights stream across the arctic sky near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories in Canada.

Yukon is one of those regions that you’ve probably heard of but aren’t quite sure where it is or why you should go there. You’ve probably heard that it’s far north and cold too.

While it’s not always true that it’s cold (the summers are baking), it is true that Canada’s Yukon province is a long way north. But having a portion of your land mass under the auroral oval is handy when it comes to watching the northern lights. You’ll soon find that there are dozens of reasons why Yukon should be top of your bucket list.

If you fancy spotting those elusive lights for yourself, our Northern Lights of the Yukon holiday is perfect for you.

Check out this epic video from Travel Yukon to get you in the mood:

 

Excited? Read on to find out how you could spot the aurora borealis on holiday in Yukon…

 

When to see them

northern lights yukon

The lights are active all times of the year, but you can only see them when it’s truly dark. As Yukon enjoys the midnight sun in summer (when the sun never sets) you’ll need to go in winter to see them.

From November to March is roughly the best time to go, when nights are long and dark. However, Yukon is blessed with a long season for the lights from mid-August all the way through to mid-April. In autumn, you could enjoy the reds and golds of the trees during the day and the blues and greens of the northern lights at night!

There are no guarantees when it comes to seeing those elusive dancing lights, but if you head out late at night (around 10pm or 11pm) you’ll give yourself the best chance of spotting them.

 

Where to see the lights

Evening and Aurora (Northern Light) images around Whitehorse, Yukon. Canada.

As long as you are somewhere dark, you’re in with a shot. That means you need to head away from the light pollution of cities and built up areas, and head into the darkness of the wilderness.

You can see the lights even just 20 minutes outside of the province’s capital, Whitehorse. That means you don’t need to trek for days into the wilds but can simply drive out of town or join an aurora watching tour.

Our top regions in Yukon for watching the lights are:

  • • Campbell
  • • Klondike
  • • Kluane (this national park is well worth a visit in the daytime too for stunning mountains and glaciers)
  • • Watson Lake Region
  • Whitehorse Region

 

How to see the lights

watching northern lights from a campfire

With a tour guide

We’d recommended joining a guided tour in order to have the best chances of seeing the lights. They’ll be able to offer you weather-watching advice to help you pick a really clear night to go out on and they’ll take you to somewhere they know is truly dark. They also provide warm outdoor gear which is essential if you’re spending a few hours out in the snow. They’ll often provide a yurt shelter and a campfire too with drinks, snacks and storytelling. Warm your hands around a mug of hot chocolate by the fireside and listen to First Nations legends of how the Northern Lights came to be.

On a dog sled ride

This is one of the most exhilarating ways to see the lights! Head out in a husky-pulled sled under the starlight and park up with a flask of something hot to watch the lights.

From a hot tub

Outdoor hot tubs provide a warm and romantic way to view those ribbons of colour! The Takhini Hot Springs are the perfect retreat.

 

What else to do

Although your evenings will be kept busy with hunting for the northern lights, there are plenty more winter activities in Yukon to keep you busy. This province is one of the best-kept secrets in North America, with pristine wilderness, secluded national parks, empty roads and mountains for days.

Dog-sledding

dog sledding

You can combine a sled ride with seeing the Northern Lights or opt for a daytime ride to take in those views. Glide silently through the forest with only the sounds of paws on snow as you go.

Snowshoeing

snowshoe

Winter hiking takes on a whole new level of adventure when you strap on a pair of snowshoes! This is a fun way to enjoy your wintery surroundings and is also a great way to quietly observe wildlife like deer and elk.

Flightseeing

Flightseeing - Kluane NP

This is one of our favourites. Those dramatic glaciers are best viewed from above from a plane or helicopter ride. There’s no thrill like it.

 

Just give us a call to book your adventure and we’ll happily help you out with excursions in Yukon.

 

Image credit © P Mather

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