Best Place to See Northern Lights in Canada 

The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are an incredible natural phenomenon where flashes of colour ripple across the night sky. The lights appear in the northern hemisphere when charged particles from the sun collide with atoms in the Earth’s magnetic field. You can witness the Northern Lights in Canada, a bucket list experience for many travellers. 

This guide will explore the best places to see Northern Lights in Canada. From Churchill to Jasper, many locations in Canada offer a front-row seat to nature's spectacular light show. 

Popular Northern Lights tours in Canada

Fall Colours and Northern Lights in Yellowknife 

This four-night itinerary combines two iconic experiences: the beauty of Canada’s fall colours and the natural wonder of the Northern Lights. You’ll travel to Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories. Along with taking in nature’s best, you’ll enjoy seasonal activities, such as hiking, fishing and wildlife tours.  

Trip length (number of nights): 4  
Nights in Yellowknife: 4
Aurora viewing evenings:

Yukon Northern Lights Resort and Spa in Winter 

This itinerary takes you from Vancouver to Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon, before a short transfer to the resort. Far from city lights, this remote resort offers only northern-facing cabins for prime viewing in comfort. Enjoy the sauna, try dogsledding, and explore the cultural highlights of Whitehorse.  

Trip length (number of nights): 5  
Nights in Whitehorse: 4
Aurora viewing evenings: 4

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10 Best Places to See Northern Lights in Canada

If you are wondering where to see Northern Lights in Canada, here are the top 10 locations. Some places are easy to access, while others are harder to get to. Popular destinations for Northern Lights trips include Churchill (Manitoba), Whitehorse (the Yukon), and Yellowknife (Northwest Territories).

1. Churchill, Manitoba 

Green Northern Lights above a tundra buggy in Churchill in winter

Nestled along the shores of Hudson Bay and positioned directly under the aurora oval, Churchill is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. Auroral activity is witnessed in Churchill up to 300 nights per year.

Accessibility and unique features 

Churchill is a remote town that can only be reached by train or plane — there is no way to drive to Churchill. The easiest option is to catch a flight from Winnipeg to Churchill, which takes about two hours. In addition to being an aurora-viewing destination, Churchill is known as the world's polar bear capital due to the large population of polar bears living there.  

Viewing spot recommendations 

For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, travel by tundra buggy across the frozen Churchill River to view the Northern Lights from Thanadelthur Lodge or Dan's Diner. Thanadelthur Lodge is a mobile lodge with floor-to-ceiling windows, while Dan’s Diner is a pop-up restaurant that serves regional cuisine. These viewing spots are on the tundra, away from light pollution, and are included in some of our Northern Lights Churchill trips.  

Best time to visit  

The best time to visit is during the winter, from January to March, when the nights are long and there are clear skies, making the Northern Lights displays more vivid. 

2. Whitehorse, Yukon

Northern Lights in the sky above Whitehorse during winter

Set against the backdrop of the Yukon's wilderness, Whitehorse boasts clear skies and minimal light pollution, creating optimal conditions for Northern Lights sightings. Whitehorse is the capital city of the Yukon and one of the top places in Canada to see the aurora. 

Accessibility and unique features 

Whitehorse is easily reachable by air or road. The city sits on the historic Yukon River and is surrounded by serene landscapes. During the day, visitors can explore nearby mountains, forests, lakes, and canyons. Popular attractions include the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs. Seasonal activities include snowmobiling, ice fishing, dogsledding, and hiking. 

Viewing spot recommendations 

While it is possible to see the Northern Lights from downtown Whitehorse, the best viewing spots are outside the city and away from light pollution. On guided aurora viewing experiences, you'll be taken to beautiful locations where you can watch the Northern Lights in comfort. Relax by the campfire, inside a heated wall tent, and more. 

Best time to visit  

The best time to visit Whitehorse is during the winter months (December to March) when there are longer, darker nights and more prominent aurora displays. The fall season (August to October) also offers fantastic opportunities for Northern Lights viewing.

3. Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Green Northern Lights in the sky above a teepee at Aurora Village

Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories and one of the best places in Canada for seeing the Northern Lights. The city is around 400 kilometres (248 miles) south of the Arctic Circle and sits under the auroral oval, so the Northern Lights can be seen in Yellowknife up to 240 nights per year.  

Accessibility and unique features 

Yellowknife is well-connected by air. Many visitors choose to fly to Yellowknife from Vancouver or Calgary. The city is located on the shores of Great Slave Lake, so it's possible to get out on the water if you visit during the fall months. In the winter, driving along the famous ice road is an unbelievable experience. 

Viewing spot recommendations 

Aurora Village is one of the top aurora viewing spots in Yellowknife. The village is outside the city and has warm teepees with woodstoves, nightly entertainment, hot beverages, and more. The Skydome (a heated geo dome) is another fantastic viewing spot. Alternatively, you can go on an aurora hunting tour with a local indigenous guide who will take you to the best viewing spots for that evening.  

Best time to visit  

Mid-August to mid-October or late November to early April are the best times to visit Yellowknife for aurora viewing.

#1 Travel Tip:

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Most guided Northern Lights viewing experiences take place between 11pm and 3am, so you need to be prepared to stay up late. Take a nap during the day if you want to catch up on sleep!

Katherine Foxcroft
Product Manager, Tours and Vacations

4. Northern Manitoba

People standing on a dock and watching the Northern Lights in Northern Manitoba

In addition to Churchill, other locations across the province offer excellent Northern Lights viewing experiences, like Gangler's North Seal River Lodge. Gangler's Lodge is in Northern Manitoba, near the border between Manitoba and Nunavut.  

Accessibility and unique features 

You can fly to Winnipeg, then continue to your chosen destination in Manitoba. If you visit Gangler’s Lodge, you can explore eskers, see glacial erratics, and discover the unique landscape of subarctic Manitoba with local biologists and Indigenous guides. Daytime activities include kayaking, ATVing, and hiking.  

Viewing spot recommendations 

Best viewing spots in Manitoba are away from city lights, so visiting a remote lodge is an ideal choice. You can enjoy great accommodation, activities, and aurora viewing all from one place. Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge is surrounded by 5 million acres of exclusive land, so there is no light pollution. This means you’ll be able to see the Northern Lights directly from the lodge. 

Best time to visit  

Gangler’s Lodge offers Northern Lights safari-style trips during August and September. 

5. Churchill Northern Studies Centre, Manitoba

Aurora display about the Churchill Northern Studies Centre in winter

The Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC) is an active research centre outside of Churchill. If you are interested in learning more about the science of the Northern Lights and the subarctic environment of Manitoba, then the CNSC is an ideal destination. 

Accessibility and unique features 

Stays at the CNSC are often referred to as 'learning vacations' since the focus is on science, research, astronomy, wildlife, and more. On these vacations, you stay at the centre and interact with scientists and researchers during mealtimes and presentations. There are several cultural tours and workshops included in these trips, too.

The centre is about 18 kilometres (11 miles) from Churchill Airport, and transport between the airport and the centre is included with your vacation. Because the centre is 23 kilometres (14 miles) away from the town, there is little light pollution in the area, so views of the Northern Lights are clearer. 

Viewing spot recommendations 

You can watch the Northern Lights from the centre's heated 360-degree indoor dome or the elevated outdoor viewing platform. The centre's remote location and lack of light pollution mean you'll get clear views of the Northern Lights (if there is aurora activity that evening). Hours to view the Northern Lights are usually between 8pm and 1am, so you can even request a door knock if you'd prefer to get some sleep while you're waiting.  

Best time to visit  

February is the best month to visit the CNSC for Northern Lights viewing.

6. Dawson City, Yukon

Northern Lights above snow-covered trees and a viewing hut near Dawson City

Dawson City combines the charm of the Gold Rush era with the opportunity to witness the Northern Lights. The city sits on the banks of the Yukon River in the Klondike region of the Yukon. Like other destinations in the Yukon, Dawson City is under the aurora oval, so sightings of the Northern Lights are common.  

Accessibility and unique features 

You can get to Dawson City by road or by air. Many visitors choose to fly from Whitehorse to Dawson City, which takes just over one hour. One of the most popular attractions in Dawson City is Tombstone Territorial Park, where you can snowshoe along the frozen North Klondike River in the winter. You can also visit famous Yukon gold rush sites near Dawson City, including the Dredge No.4 historical site. 

Viewing spot recommendations 

Since Dawson City is a small community with little light pollution, you can often see the lights from anywhere in town. Head to Midnight Dome for panoramic views or drive along the Dempster Highway to find more viewing spots.  

Best time to visit  

The best time to visit Dawson City for Northern Lights viewing is in the fall and winter months, from the end of August until April.

#2 Travel Tip:

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Head to the Northern Lights Resort and Spa for a relaxing vacation in the Yukon. The purpose-built property features cozy cabins and a large viewing area.

Blog Author - Hannah Poaros-Mcdermott
Hannah Poaros-McDermott
Travel Writer and Senior Content Coordinator

7. St. Anthony, Newfoundland

Northern Lights above L’Anse aux Meadows Historic Site in Newfoundland

Perched on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, St. Anthony offers a coastal setting for Northern Lights enthusiasts. It's a popular destination for iceberg and whale watching during the summer, while Northern Lights sightings are more likely in the fall or winter. 

Accessibility and unique features 

St. Anthony is accessible by road and air, with the St. Anthony Airport facilitating travel. The area is known for its rich maritime and Viking history. During the day, visitors can explore the L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site and see the remains of an 11th-century Viking settlement.  

Viewing spot recommendations 

Places like Fishing Point Municipal Park or L'Anse aux Meadows provide unobstructed views of the Northern Lights. 

Best time to visit 

The best time to visit is during the winter, as there is a higher chance of seeing the aurora borealis when there are dark, clear skies. 

8. Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies

Northern Lights in the starry sky above Pyramid Island and Pyramid Lake

Situated in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park is a dark sky preserve and a fantastic location for viewing the Northern Lights in Canada. Stargazing and night sky viewing are popular during October when the town hosts the Jasper Dark Sky Festival.  

Accessibility and unique features 

Jasper National Park is easily accessed by train, car, or airplane. The nearest airport is Edmonton, though you can also fly to Calgary and make the journey from there. The VIA Rail Canadian train runs year-round between Vancouver and Toronto, stopping in Jasper along the way.

Jasper National Park is the largest park in the Canadian Rockies, and there is so much to explore during the day. You can go hiking and sightseeing in the fall or skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.  

Viewing spot recommendations 

Pyramid Lake, Maligne Lake, and Jasper Planetarium are some of Jasper’s top Northern Lights viewing spots. 

Best time to visit  

The best time to visit Jasper National Park is during the fall and winter months, from October to April, when there are longer hours of darkness. 

9. Nunavut

Another province that has fantastic conditions for viewing the Northern Lights is Nunavut. Iqaluit is the capital city of Nunavut and is located on Baffin Island.  

Accessibility and unique features 

Iqaluit International Airport provides connections to Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Yellowknife, and other cities. During winter, visitors can explore the frozen landscape around Iqaluit and learn about traditional Inuit culture. 

Viewing spot recommendations 

Head to places in Iqaluit with minimal light pollution, like the Apex area. Guided tours are the best way to view the Northern Lights in this remote location.  

Best time to visit  

The best time to visit is between October and April, where there are long nights and vivid aurora displays. 

10. Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gros Morne National Park is a wonderful place to view the night sky. The national park is on the west coast of Newfoundland. Being away from major cities, Gros Morne is an excellent choice for Northern Lights viewing in Eastern Canada. 

Accessibility and unique features 

Gros Morne National Park is accessible by road from Deer Lake Airport or other destinations in Newfoundland. The national park is full of dramatic landscapes, with freshwater fjords, dense forests, sandy beaches, and towering cliffs. Daytime activities include hiking the Tablelands or Gros Morne Mountain. 

Viewing spot recommendations 

Seek out dark areas within the park for optimal viewing.  

Best time to visit  

Visit during the fall and winter months for the best chance of viewing the Northern Lights in Gros Morne National Park.

#3 Travel Tip:

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Want to see more of Canada? Combine a Northern Lights trip with a scenic train journey through the Canadian Rockies.

Katherine Foxcroft
Product Manager, Tours and Vacations

Things to consider while choosing viewing spots

When thinking about the best place to see Northern Lights in Canada, it’s important to consider the time of year, transport options, accommodation, day activities and experiences.

Firstly, the location's proximity to the magnetic pole is a huge factor in whether it is a good place for viewing aurora. Places under the auroral oval, like Churchill or Yellowknife, often offer more frequent and intense displays.

It's important to think about accessibility, so choose locations with convenient transportation options, whether by road or air, to ensure a smoother journey to your chosen place. Keep in mind the season and weather conditions, too.

Once you've picked your destination within Canada, you'll want to assess the level of light pollution in the area and find spots with minimal artificial light to maximize the visibility of the auroras. An advantage of booking a trip with Northern Lights Canada is that we include guided aurora viewing — which means you don't have to search for the best viewing spots yourself. Local guides can provide valuable insights on the science of the Northern Lights and how to take amazing photos of them, in addition to giving you the best chances of witnessing the Northern Lights. This will make your adventure more memorable and enjoyable. 


 Canada has some of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights, and we hope this list has inspired you to plan your next trip. From the remote subarctic wilderness of Churchill to the snow-capped mountains of the Yukon and the Rockies, each destination offers a different Northern Lights experience. And beyond this colourful celestial display lies a rich tapestry of culture, history, and natural beauty waiting to be discovered.

If you’d like more information on seeing the Northern Lights in Canada, please speak to one of the travel experts at We specialize in planning Northern Lights trips in Manitoba, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. Our trips include accommodation, aurora-viewing tours, daytime activities and experiences, and personalized travel support. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Northern Lights, also called aurora borealis, appear in the night sky when charged particles from the sun collide with the Earth's magnetic field. The Northern Lights appear in the Northern Hemisphere. The same phenomenon occurs in the Southern hemisphere and is called the Southern Lights or aurora australis. Green is the most seen colour of the Northern Lights, though they can appear in other colours, including yellow, pink, purple, and red.

The Northern Lights are caused by charged particles from the sun colliding with gases in the Earth's atmosphere. When these charged particles interact with oxygen and nitrogen, they produce beautiful, coloured waves of light in the night sky.

Prices vary for Northern Lights Canada 2024 trips and depend on location, length of trip, season, day tours, accommodation, and more. Our Northern Lights of Yellowknife package starts from $1,390 USD per person (flights not included). A fall trip to the Yukon starts at $2,160 USD per person, while a winter trip to Churchill starts at $3,850 USD per person. Many options are available, so please contact a vacation advisor for more information.

You can see the Northern Lights across Canada, with the best places being in the Northern areas, including Churchill in Manitoba, Whitehorse in the Yukon, and Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. While aurora sightings are never guaranteed, these destinations have regular sightings during winter and fall.

Guided Northern Lights tours often provide the best chances of seeing the lights in optimal conditions, making them a worthwhile option for those seeking a memorable experience.

To capture the Northern Lights on camera, use a sturdy tripod to keep the camera steady, set a high ISO for sensitivity, use a wide aperture to let in more light, and choose a longer exposure time. You can experiment with different settings and consider using a remote shutter release for best results.

The best time to see the Northern Lights in Canada is during the winter months, from late September to early April. This period provides longer nights and clearer skies, increasing the likelihood of witnessing any aurora activity. The peak months are often December to February. For some places in Canada, the fall season is also the best time to see the Northern Lights. 

Northern Lights Resort and Spa, Churchill Northern Studies Centre, and Gangler's North Seal River Lodge are some properties known for having excellent Northern Lights viewing opportunities.

There are many attractions and activities available in the Northern areas of Canada. In the winter, you can try dogsledding, snowmobiling, or snowshoeing, while the fall months are perfect for hiking, wildlife viewing, and sightseeing.

You can track the Northern Lights forecast using aurora forecasting websites or apps. These tools provide information on geomagnetic activity, cloud cover, and aurora predictions for specific locations. Some popular websites include NOAA Space Weather Prediction Centre, and apps like My Aurora Forecast.

 The Northern regions of Canada, like the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Manitoba, are the best locations for viewing the Northern Lights. Aurora activity can be seen in Churchill, Manitoba, up to 300 nights per year, and in Yellowknife, NWT, around 240 nights per year.

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