Experts are predicting that 2024 may bring in the best auroras in 20 years due to the sun reaching its peak of an 11-year cycle. This means the auroral zones will grow and happen more frequently, making 2024 the year to finally check this natural wonder off your bucket list. And you don’t need to fly to Europe to see them. Some of the best viewing spots are right around Anchorage.
Photo credit: JodyO.Photos
When to Go:
The captivating display of the aurora borealis can be observed from mid-August to April, during the period when the skies become sufficiently dark to unveil nature's breathtaking light spectacle.
Best Viewing Spots:
Glen Alps – Head up to this high elevation vantage point above the city and look up from the trailhead parking lot.
Girdwood – This quaint ski town is nestled in the Chugach mountains which shields it from the lights of the city. Plus, it’s home to Alyeska Resort, which offers guests a northern lights wake-up call.
Point Woronzof - Situated on the northwestern outskirts of the city, this coastal park enjoys an excellent northern vantage point along the shores of Cook Inlet.
Eagle River Nature Center – This serene and secluded spot is at the entrance of Chugach State Park at the end of Eagle River Road.
Eklutna Tailrace and Knik River Valley – This vantage point offers a view unobstructed by mountains, providing favorable visibility even when the aurora is positioned low on the horizon.
Winni Wanderer Tip:
Book a tour with an experienced guide for the best chances at catching a glimpse of nature’s dazzling display of lights. Many guides leave right from Anchorage, and the mild temperatures make for a comfortable experience while chasing the aurora. The guides will keep track of the weather conditions, know how to get to that perfect viewing spot to avoid the man-made light, and help you snap that perfect photo.
Sources: * Ward, Terry. “2024 May Bring the Best Auroras in 20 Years.” Science, National Geographic, 1 Dec. 2023, www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/auroras-solar-maximum-2024.
“5 Best Spots to See the Northern Lights in Anchorage.” Www.anchorage.net, 9 Oct. 2021, www.anchorage.net/blog/post/5-best-spots-to-see-the-northern-lights-in-anchorage/
By Staff Contributor in partnership with Visit Anchorage
Visit Anchorage Visitor Guide