Aurora Borealis in Fairbanks Alaska
Fairbanks, Alaska is undoubtedly one of the best locations in world to witness the Aurora Borealis. Beginning at the end of August and lasting until late May, these vivid green and red light shows oscillate during the evenings from horizon to horizon. That said, not all locations in Fairbanks were created equal for viewing the Northern Lights. Hotels inside the city limits and near the airport often have an obscured view of the Aurora Borealis due to bright lights of the city. Where can you go to maximize your chance of seeing the Aurora? Here are our top recommendations:
Fairbanks sits at 500 feet above sea level and is surrounded by small, rolling hills. Murphy Dome, just behind the Fairbanks International Airport, is one of the largest peaks in the area and is our go-to location for aurora chasing. During the Cold War, Murphy Dome hosted an Air Force Station which fell into a state of disrepair for several decades. In the early 1990s, this location was dismantled, cleaned up and opened to public use. This cleared out, flat and smooth location at 2,500 feet above the city of Fairbanks is ideal for Northern Lights photography that might require tripods or special equipment.
Airlink provides a Murphy Dome Northern Lights Tour with a experienced tour guide. We will take your group in our 15-passenger vans 20 miles northwest of Fairbanks in search of the Aurora. We pick up between 9:45 – 10:15 pm and bring you back to your hotel around 3 AM.
Chandalar Ranch (Chena Hot Springs Road)
Chena Hot Springs Road stretches out over 60 miles east of Fairbanks. It’s not necessary to go all the way to the hot springs to get away from the city lights and find an ideal lookout location. Chandalar Ranch, just 25 miles from downtown Fairbanks, is the perfect location to sit back with a cup of coffee and wait for the lights.
Airlink Alaska provides transportation to the viewing lodge at Chandalar Ranch. Our professional driver will pick you up between 9:45 – 10:15 pm and take you out to the viewing lodge for some hot cocoa while waiting for the Northern Lights. We’ll bring back to your Fairbanks Hotel around 3 AM.
Just north of town is a viewpoint that has grown in popularity over the last decade. Cleary Summit is just 20 miles north of Fairbanks and offers a spectacular, northward facing view of arctic skyline. The summit has two local aurora lodges (Mt. Aurora and Aurora Borealis Lodge) but also features a large, state-maintained parking lot that is open to the public. Do you have a large group that would like to view and photograph the aurora? Cleary Summit is the perfect location to setup your tripod and stretch your legs as you wait for the show. Airlink’s charter buses can park in the Cleary Summit Viewing Area and wait and watch with your group.
We look forward to hosting your group in Fairbanks! The Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that guests who stay in Fairbanks three or more days have a 90% chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Let Airlink Shuttle and Tours maximize your chances of seeing nature’s light show. Get in touch with us today!