Seeing the Northern Lights on an Alaska Vacation

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One of the best parts of any Alaskan vacation, whether you're coming primarily for fishing, wildlife tours or any other purpose, is how many different wonderful attractions there are. Even if your main purpose for the trip is one of the activities we just listed, you'll have plenty of time to experience several other forms of Alaska's beauty -- and one of the most well-known forms of this beauty is found in the viewing of the northern lights.

At Pybus Point Lodge, while our primary services involve the very best fishing vacations, wildlife tours and other outdoor excursions in Alaska, we're also happy to guide our guests who are looking for additional activities to fill their time. The northern lights, also referred to as polar lights or Aurora Borealis, are beautiful forms of natural light that can only be seen in certain high-latitude regions -- including Alaska. In fact, we're just entering the prime part of the year for northern lights viewing in Alaska, which tends to span from mid-August through mid-April.

Why is Alaska such an ideal location for seeing the lights, and how can you increase your chances of seeing them if you have an Alaskan vacation upcoming? Here's a primer.

Why Alaska is the Best Location for Northern Lights Viewing

To be clear, Alaska is far from the only place on the map where you'll be able to see the northern lights. Others include Canada, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Greenland. However, most consider Alaska the single best location for northern lights viewing for Americans, for a few reasons:

  • Simple travel: Booking travel to Alaska is much easier for Americans than to most or all of the other locations we just went over, starting with the fact that you won't need a passport. Those in major US hubs, or anywhere nearby, can get to Alaska in just a few hours.
  • Wide-ranging time period: As we noted above, the northern lights are typically visible in Alaska from mid-August all the way through mid-April, and sometimes even longer.
  • Odds of sight: Everyone wants to be 100% sure they get a great view of the lights, and Alaska offers you the best odds here. If you spend three consecutive nights looking for the lights, you have greater than a 90% chance of seeing them.

Increasing Your Chances of Seeing the Northern Lights

Now, it must be noted that there is no firm guarantee you'll see the northern lights when you visit Alaska, even during their typical visibility periods. They can be impacted by several factors, including cloud cover, atmospheric conditions and your location.

However, there are a few things you can do to increase your odds:

  • Check the KP Index: The KP index is an international measurement of geomagnetic activity, shown on a scale from one to nine. A rating of three or above tends to indicate aurora visibility is possible. You can check the KP index at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's website.
  • Get away from light pollution: With a bit of research, you should be able to find areas in Alaska where there isn't much – or any – outdoor lighting. The darker the location you visit, the greater your chance of seeing more of the lights.
  • Plan several nights for viewing attempts: As we mentioned above, the odds of seeing northern lights go up dramatically if you spend three nights in a row viewing them. You'll have one shot on your first night there, another attempt on your second and a third chance on your last day -- or even more chances if you stay longer than three nights.
  • Plan to stay up late: Viewing the northern lights requires staying up somewhat late, with typical viewing hours generally found between 10pm and 3am.
  • Plan an early wake-up call: In other cases, you'll need to be ready to hop out of bed early. This is because the northern lights are known for being visible before sunrise, which is typically around 6am in Alaska.
  • Utilize staff expertise: Our staff's expertise is valuable in numerous areas, including this one. Most of our staff members have lived in Alaska for years, and we're well-versed in themes like viewing the northern lights. While our primary services involve assisting clients with their fishing trips, wildlife tours and others, our staff members will happily offer recommendations and other tips for ensuring you catch the northern lights this year.

For more on seeing the northern lights in Alaska, or to learn about any of our fishing excursions, wildlife tours or other amenities, speak to the staff at Pybus Point Lodge today.

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REVIEWS

65% OF OUR GUESTS ARE RETURN CUSTOMERS

Discover why people like you can’t stop talking about Pybus Point Lodge. More than 30 years ago, Pybus Point Lodge opened as a simple fishing camp, drawing a devoted following in spite of basic accommodations. With new owners and experienced captains and crew, our corner of Alaska has become an unbeatable all-inclusive fishing and eco-tourism resort.

Andrea Tate

Incredible Experience!

Pybus Point Lodge has some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. I mean absolutely breathtaking! In addition to the amazing fishing, I hiked to a beautiful secluded lake, soaked in some hot pots, saw several waterfalls, went whale watching, saw bears and all kinds of wildlife and marine life. As a photographer, photographing a wedding under a waterfall will remain a highlight of my life.

Shirley Johnson

Pybus Point Lodge - WOW!

We had the best time! This was our first visit to Pybus, but it definitely will not be our last. The stunning scenery, amazing fishing experience, and the joy of meeting new friends – all outstanding! We did not want to leave!!! If you are thinking about this trip – don’t think any more, just book it. You will not regret it!!!

Sharon Hedding

Trip of a Lifetime!

We had such an amazing time the staff was so wonderful and the lodge was fantastic! capt Joe was so helpful and always doing what ever he could do to make each day special. a special thank you to both Scott and Jody for taking the time to make us feel like family. can't wait to go back next year

Jason Nielsen

Wonderful and Magical Place

We had an amazing business retreat to Pybus Point Lodge.  Everything was top notch... the fishing, the staff, the boat captains, the food, the accommodations, and especially the scenery.    I really liked that Pybus took care of everything from start to finish. Chef John is an amazing cook. We had delicious hot meals the entire trip.  The cabins were amazing and very comfortable.  The fishing was awesome and that’s coming from a guy that doesn’t fish that much.

Brandon Foote

We brought home 100lbs of fish!

My wife and I spent a week at Pybus Point this Summer. We had a beautiful, private room overlooking the bay and our own new, ensuite, private bathroom. What an amazing place for couples to get away together. We set our own breakfast time, met our boat captain after, fished the day along, and returned to clean up and enjoy a nice dinner at the restaurant. Next time Alaska is on the trip list, Sherrie and I will go together, and it will be to Pybus Point!

Kent Danjanovich

Fun in Alaska

This was my first trip to Pybus Point. I stayed in one of their new cabins. The accommodations were incredible, the view onto the bay in the mornings was stunning. I loved the staff and the food was really very good. All of this and they have new boats to take you out onto fairly calm waters to fish. The fishing guides were great. Overall a great experience. Definitely going back.

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