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Best Place to See Northern Lights in Canada

One of the best places in Canada to see the Northern Lights is Churchill, Manitoba. This nighttime display of phosphorescent green, yellow and pink lights shimmer like stardust across northern skies has entranced travellers for centuries. Canada has several of the world’s top places to see them, with optimal viewing in the Winter between November and March.

The travel experts at Fresh Tracks Canada love helping visitors to Canada plan their vacation. Our Aurora Borealis tours take you to the best places to see the Northern Lights in Canada, such as Manitoba, the Yukon and the Canadian Rockies. They also include winter adventures to keep you busy once the sun rises, from dogsledding and snowshoeing to hot spring visits. The team at Fresh Tracks can help you customize your Canadian Northern Lights Tour package.

Recommended Northern Lights Trip in 2022-23

Discover the best locations across Canada to view the Northern Lights

A couple in winter clothing walks by a VIA rail train

Northern Lights of Churchill by Train

On this train-based adventure, you’ll journey to Churchill, Manitoba – one of the top three places in the world to see the Northern Lights. View the mystical Aurora from a cozy Tundra Buggy in the deep dark of an arctic winter. Enjoy a culinary adventure under the stars, interpretive tours, and guided winter activities.

  • Availability: February and March
  • Places Visited: Winnipeg and Churchill
  • Accommodation Style: Sleeper train and hotel
  • Activity Level: Easy

Where to see the Northern Lights in Canada?

The Northern Lights are visible, during the right conditions, in several places in Canada. For our list, we only chose the locations known for the regular appearances of the Northern Lights that are easy to get to by most travellers. These places don't require extreme hikes or enduring rough conditions. Our suppliers use the Northern Light forecast to determine the best nights for outings. It is predicted that 2023 will be a great year for spotting the Canadian Aurora Borealis. Here are the best places to see the Northern Lights in Canada. 

Churchill, Manitoba

Found along the shores of Hudson Bay, Churchill is the best place in Canada to see the Northern Lights. Located directly under the auroral oval, Churchill is even considered one of the top places in the world for this experience.  The winter months of January, February, and March offer the best experience, though you have the chance to see the Northern Lights most of the year. Why is Churchill a top spot? Its longer nights and colder conditions mean the Northern Lights often appear brighter and remain in the sky longer. Plus, there are unique opportunities to take in the lights, such as a special diner car located in a tundra buggy. 

Best time to go: January, February, and March

Number of nights visible:  up to 300 nights per year

A group of people view the aurora borealis outside

Yukon

In the northwest of Canada, Yukon boasts several destinations with a high chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Part of the region lies underneath the auroral oval. The prime time for seeing the natural spectacle is between November and March, although you may spot the lights anytime between the end of August and the middle of April. Due to its remote northern location, Yukon experiences the midnight sun during the summer months. The long hours of sunshine make it impossible to see the lights.

Venture away from the city lights to areas of total darkness and turn your gaze skywards while trying to see the lights.

Best time to go: between November and March

Number of nights visible:  up to 240 nights per year

Northern lights above a lake in Yukon, Canada.

Newfoundland and Labrador 

The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is another top place to see the Aurora Borealis in Canada. While many of the best viewing spots lie along the coast, avoiding light pollution and heading to remote areas gives you the best opportunity to see the Northern Lights. Like Churchill, Newfoundland's northern location and colder nights are key for making it an ideal location. Weather can be risk factor, obscuring the sky. 

Best time to go: September to October and March to April

Number of nights visible: up to 60 nights per year

Northern Lights at L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site in Newfoundland, Canada

Canadian Rockies 

Banff and Jasper National Parks, both in the Canadian Rockies, are two of the best locations to see the Northern Lights in Canada. In Banff, October to April offers the best chances of witnessing the lights, although you may spot them year-round in the right conditions. Jasper National Park is a dedicated Dark Sky Preserve, which eliminates light pollution, which means you can see the brightest lights between September and May. If you visit in October, you can time your trip to coincide with the Jasper Dark Sky Festival. 

Best time to go: between October and April 

Number of nights visible: up to 300 nights per year, depending on light pollution 

A young woman with her hands full of cranberries smiles at the camera

On a sleeper train 

Found along the shores of Hudson Bay, Churchill is the best place in Canada to see the Northern Lights. Located directly under the auroral oval, Churchill is even considered one of the top places in the world for this experience.  The winter months of January, February, and March offer the best experience, though you have the chance to see the Northern Lights most of the year. Why is Churchill a top spot? Its longer nights and colder conditions mean the Northern Lights often appear brighter and remain in the sky longer. Plus, there are unique opportunities to take in the lights, such as a special diner car located in a tundra buggy. 

Best time to go: January, February, and March

Number of nights visible:  up to 300 nights per year

The VIA Rail train to Churchill passes under the northern lights
Three green streaks of the aurora borealis above Grizzly Lake, Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon Territory

Canadian Insider Tips to Experience Aurora Borealis

The best way to see the Northern Lights is on a guided tour, where your guides will take care of all the details. There are still ways you can prepare:

  • Be ready to stay up late: The best time of night to see the lights is around midnight. It’s a great excuse to take a nap earlier in the day.
  • Prepare to head to a remote location: light pollution affects the ability to see the Aurora Borealis. The best tours have special set-ups with fire-pits and cozy shelters.
  • Dress warmly and in layers: Winter nights in Canada are very cold, especially in the North. Many of our tour operators supply winter clothing.

More information on Northern Lights trips

Have questions about seeing the Northern Lights in Canada and don't see the answer here? Get in touch with one of our travel experts.

Frequently Asked Questions

A dazzling natural phenomenon, the Northern Lights are streaks of light in a range of colours that appear in the night sky in the North. The lights usually appear white or green, but can also appear in tones of blue, red, violet and pink.

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are caused by activity on the sun’s surface. Solar storms create electronically charged particles, some of which travel as far as the Earth. Some of these particles are drawn in by the Earth’s magnetic field and pulled toward the poles. The resulting geomagnetic storms produce heat causing different gases to glow in various colousrs. This Aurora, or light phenomena, occur over both of the Earth’s poles.

Even if you're using a camera phone, you can get good photos of the Northern Lights. The three keys are using a tripod, slowing down your shutter speed, and using Night Mode on your phone. There are also special phone apps that help you capture the Northern Lights on camera.

Trips can range in price depending on your hotel class, region, time of year and length of stay. Our packages start at $2,900 and go up to over $7,000.

Yes, a Northern Lights tour is worth it. Seeing the Northern Lights is a life-changing experience. We take care of everything from transportation and hotels to your tours and excurions. We only work with the best guides.

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