Traveling to Canada to enjoy the Northern Lights is a unique experience. There are many destinations where you can see this phenomenon such as Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Greenland...
If you are thinking of traveling to Canada in the cold season, you will not only be able to enjoy this natural wonder, but also its ski slopes, its snow-capped lakes and a lot of other things. Canada is a perfect destination to travel all year round.
In this post I tell you 5 incredible places to see Northern Lights in Canada + some more tips to know which days are more likely, and how to make your photos and videos great.
BEST TIME TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN CANADA
If you are thinking about traveling during the northern lights season, you should keep in mind that in Canada they can be seen from mid-October to mid-March. Although the best months where you can see auroras almost daily are the months of January and February, when the nights are darkest.
WHY AND HOW THE AURORAS ARE FORMED
Sometimes solar activity releases large amounts of charged particles into space and several of them are attracted back to the Earth by the magnetic field. The northern lights occur when these particles make contact with the atmosphere and collide with atoms, with oxygen and nitrogen molecules present in the air. Although to see each other, other factors must be taken into account such as clear skies, darkness, temperature, location...
5 BEST PLACES TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN CANADA
1. Whitehorse, Yukon
Yukon is located on the border of Alaska, in the extreme northeast of Canada. To get here you must take a two and a half hour flight from Vancouver.
Yukon is a territory with an arctic climate with impressive glaciers. Here is the highest peak in Canada with almost 6,000 meters above sea level, Mount Logan. Another impressive place to visit in the Miles Canyon, the main place of the Gold Rush in Canada.
In this area you will find several accommodation options and what stands out the most are the cabins. You can do various activities such as sledding, ice skating, snowshoeing (or without), snowmobiling...
There are several excursions organized with a guide in Spanish, I leave you a link to all of them, because some are really interesting:
2. Jasper National Park, a perfect place to see the Northern Lights in Canada
Jasper National Park is located in the province of Alberta, in Canada. One of the best places in the country to see Northern Lights. This National Park is full of lush forests, incredible mountains, lakes and a dark sky, perfect for seeing the Northern Lights.
It is considered the largest accessible dark sky reserve in the world.
The best option to get to know this place is to take a road trip through the Rocky Mountains of Canada, in Alberta.
It is located 3 hours from the city of Edmonton and 4.3 hours from Calgary. With what you can get by rental car. The road from Calgary to Jasper National Park is amazing! Movie landscapes, turquoise blue lakes, valleys, mountains... You can read our Road Trip through Alberta here! We didn't go during the northern lights season and you don't know what we regret... We traveled during the thaw season (in May) and the landscapes are gorgeous. You can't always have everything...
If you take a tour of the Rocky Mountains, there are several places to see the Northern Lights. Banff National Park is also a good option.
Posts about Alberta that may interest you:
3. Baffin Island
Baffin Island is located in Nunavut, near Greenland. And it is an ideal place to see Northern Lights. It is not very popular among travelers as it is one of the coldest and most remote places.
Nunavut is one of the traditional Canadian towns, so if you are looking for the Northern Lights, but also to live the experience of integrating among the locals, Nunavut is a good option, very authentic.
4. Churchill, Manitoba
Churchill is located in the north of the province of Manitoba, Canada. It is famous because it is also one of the favorite places for watching polar bears. Here the northern lights are visible up to 300 nights a year, depending on the weather. I'm looking forward to getting to know Manitoba and touring it in its entirety.
Winter in Yellowknife can be one of the coldest imaginable, with temperatures as low as -40C, but you're guaranteed to see the best Northern Lights in the world.
In Yellowknife, you can see the Northern Lights from August through April. It is the longest and most successful period of seeing them.
Some of the most beautiful places to see the Northern Lights in "downtown" Yellowknife are the Pilots Monument, Parker Park and especially Lake Kam. It is pure magic.
If you prefer to go to the outskirts, where the city lights are not present, you can choose an accommodation in the Prelude Lake area. As there is no light pollution, here you will be able to record and take spectacular photographs of the northern lights. They look more intense.
HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
I know that not all of you have good cameras or cameras with lens change. And although obviously taking pictures with a camera will turn out better, if you have a good mobile phone, today it is possible to take pictures of the Northern Lights, and then you can edit them a bit to remove darkness and increase the color of the lights.
A good starting point for photographing the Northern Lights if you have a camera is: f/2.8 aperture, ISO 1600 (higher if it's very dark), and a 15-second shutter speed. Note that if the aurora is active, moving quickly, you need to shorten the shutter speed.
If you don't have much of an idea, I recommend that you record the entire moment with your mobile phone or camera, with a tripod. Always with tripod. Plant your tripod on the ground and as soon as this magic appears, focus and record. Stop recording, sit down and enjoy... Then at home with time you will have time to try to edit a bit and take some image capture of the recording.
The important thing is to be able to see the northern authors and let yourself go, don't be too aware of the phone or the camera that perhaps you will accidentally miss this show. ENJOY TO THE FULLEST, LIVE IT.
TIP TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN YOU SEARCH FOR THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN CANADA
Take the weather into account. It is very cold. Go prepared and always have warm clothes on hand, in case you have to run out of your cabin because you have seen through the window that the show is starting.
There may not be a single day of northern lights on your trip, do not despair. Check the weather forecast, check with the locals of the destination... they can guide you. There are several web pages that report and make forecasts, I like Aurora Forecast
Clear nights and avoid artificial light. The darker the better, so places far from the city and accommodation in cabins are a good option.
Don't despair, be patient.
PLAN YOUR TRIP STEP BY STEP
I hope you enjoy your trip to Canada a lot and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.
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A hug and see you soon!