Chasing Aurora in Anchorage
Nothing excites visitors or Alaskans more than seeing the night sky dancing with vibrant ribbons of color. The aurora borealis, or the northern lights, are active year-round but visible when the skies are dark. In Anchorage that is most often from September through the end of March, when conditions are right.
Although city light pollution make it difficult to see this spectacular display, there are numerous locations around Anchorage where the aurora can be observed. Just 20 minutes from downtown, the Glen Alps trailhead give a spectacular bird’s-eye view of the Anchorage Bowl and a beautiful, light-free look at the night sky. There are numerous pullouts along the Seward Highway and Turnagain Arm that are street-light free to the south of downtown. The Hotel Alyeska, in the town of Girdwood, just 40 miles south of downtown Anchorage, offers a Northern Lights Wake-up Call for guests looking to be wakened if the aurora are present. Anchorage is roughly 1,955 square miles, most of which is parkland and wilderness, so really, anywhere away from a neighborhood and street nights with an unobstructed view of the night sky is a good spot to wait for the dazzling show.
Aurora Borealis-seekers looking to capture quality images of the northern lights may want to consider taking a tour. Alaska Photo Treks Anchorage Aurora Quest – Alaska Northern Lights Photo Tour and Arctic Light Gallery & Excursions Aurora Photo Tour each offer tours within a 1-2 hour drive of downtown Anchorage as well as individual coaching as to how to photograph the aurora.