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What You Should Know About Viewing the Whitehorse Northern Lights

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Whitehorse Northern Lights

Last month, a friend and I flew up to the Yukon in an attempt to view the Whitehorse Northern Lights in Yukon Canada. Any time you travel to see the Northern Lights, there’s a chance that you may not actually see them. Honestly, I didn’t think this would actually happen. After all, we stayed there for 5 nights on the darkest days of the month. Our trip to Whitehorse was still fun, but viewing the lights was a total bust.

By, the way, if you haven’t checked out my outstanding Review of Air North, please do so. I’d take them again in a heartbeat the next time I return to the Yukon.

Whitehorse Northern Lights
One afternoon we hiked over an hour in the freezing cold through the forest and at the end of the road we found a frozen river and this beautiful cabin. A little old lady answered the door with two cups of warm hot cocoa to sip by the fire. Just kidding.

I could make out the subtle green glow from behind the clouds, nothing more. It was like spotting the sunset through a cloud of volcanic ash. I joked earlier on about the humorous situation of merely seeing a single flicker of light on this entire trip, but as it turned out, I’d have gladly settled on seeing that flicker.

With that said, anyone who knows anything about night photography knows that you can turn night into day through your camera’s long exposure which accounts for why I’ve brought home at least some beautiful images of the lights. I have a feeling that a lot of Northern Lights photographs don’t actually depict the photographer’s actual experience. Whitehorse Northern Lights

It was a bittersweet experience because it’s not exactly a short flight from Boston and it’s certainly not a cheap trip or a warm winter destination. We spent every night walking twenty minutes through the cold, pitch dark, snow-covered wilderness to the Northern Lights viewing location. You know it’s a remote adventure when you’re following a set of fresh animal tracks in the snow with your flashlight in the middle of the night for a half a mile.

But it was a bad combination of cloud cover and weak frequency. We also scheduled our trip at one of the highest probabilities when the moon was at its darkest. Lady luck was definitely not on our side.

Whitehorse Northern Lights
Fresh wood at the Sundog Retreat.

The coldest day we experienced was 0F which was pretty damn cold but also rather warm for Whitehorse this time of year so we were blessed with a warmer than average week in January. I can’t image what -30F feels like and I don’t want to know.

We enjoyed our stay here though and if you’re interested in viewing the Whitehorse Northern lights, you should think about staying at Sundog Retreat. It’s far removed from the city’s light pollution and you have your own modern furnished cabin to stay in where you can walk out and view the lights at your own convenience. I’ll share a post on their resort soon later.

Whitehorse Northern Lights
Hanging out in my cabin

Despite the obvious disappointment, that’s pretty much the risk you assume when you plan a trip to view the Northern Lights. And besides, I had other fun which is why I’m not too upset about not seeing the lights although it’s definitely a letdown. I’ve never visited the Yukon before so it was a nice getaway. At the very least, I got to breathe some fresh, clean air. Whitehorse offers dog mushing, ice fishing, and more too. In another post, I’ll elaborate on those details.

Our cabin in the woods
Our cabin in the woods

Best Whitehorse Northern Lights Tours & Hotel Options

When choosing an Aurora Borealis Yukon tour, you can either stay at a location as we did, or choose another company that will drive you to a remote location every night to view the lights. We were told that Whitehorse doesn’t tend to get as much snow as other places,  so renting a car could be a good option too. But we didn’t rent a car so that was a perk of staying at an all-inclusive resort. They drove us everywhere we needed to go within reason. With that said, if you want a better variety of perspectives to shoot the Northern Lights, renting a car to venture out might not be a bad idea. Just be on the lookout for the wild animals that may leap in front of your car.

Book a 4 Day Yukon Aurora Viewing Tour

Book a 4 Day Northern Lights & Dog Mushing Adventure

Read More Articles I’ve Written About The Yukon

Air North Review: Why I Love This Airline


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