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How late do you have to stay up to watch the sun set in the Northwest Territories?

fishing under the midnight sun

How late do you have to stay up to watch the sun set in the Northwest Territories?

June 20, the Summer Solstice, is the longest day of the year.

Here's how long you need to stay awake to watch the sun set across the Northwest Territories.

church in fort smith

Fort Smith 10:55 PM

Fort Smith is the NWT's southernmost town, hugging the Alberta border. Way down yonder, dusk comes early on the solstice. Like, before 11 p.m. By one in the morning you may actually have to squint to read. 

Hay River

Hay River 11:21 PM

Hay River is about an hour's drive north of the Alberta border. At that latitude, the Hub enjoys 19 hours and 11 minutes of sunlight today. 

yellowknife bay at sunset

Yellowknife 11:39 PM

In Yellowknife, north of Great Slave Lake, the sun will only leave the sky tonight for four hours and one minute. But it won't get dark. Consider it an extended twilight. Golfers will literally be teeing off at midnight. 

canoeing in fort simpson on mackenzie river

Fort Simpson 11:58 PM

Fort Simpson isn't quite as far north as Yellowknife, but it's farther west, so the sun sets later in the Dehcho's biggest community. If you're in Fort Simpson, your day will be 18 hours and 57 minutes long. Hope you brought a sleep mask. 


Gamètı̀ 12:24 AM

Gamètı̀ is halfway between Great Slave and Great Bear Lakes. The sun sets tonight at a half past midnight and rises again at 3 a.m. In those two-plus hours, the sky will essentially look like the picture above. 


Wrigley 12:29 AM

Wrigley is several hours' drive north of Fort Simpson. The sun will only go away for a little more than three hours. Dusk will slide seamlessly into dawn and kids will be out playing until the wee hours. 


Tulita 1:21 AM

The Mackenzie River community of Tulita is smack-dab on the 65th Parallel. On the solstice, the sun slips below the horizon for about two hours before quickly returning to the sky. 

hiking in norman wells

Norman Wells 1:43 AM

Norman Wells is pretty darn close to the Arctic Circle. Winters are shrouded in darkness – but summers are brilliant. Tonight, sunset and sunrise will only be 94 minutes apart. It'll be like the sun ducked below the horizon, took a quick power nap, and then popped back up. 


Inuvik July 19

Inuvik is the hub of the Western Arctic, with perpetual daylight for months each summer. If you want to stay awake until Inuvik's next sunset, you better fire up your coffee pot, because that won't happen until July 19.

Sachs Harbour

Sachs Harbour August 4

Sachs Harbour, the NWT's northernmost community, doesn't see a true night for several months. It will be August before night returns to this Arctic community. Until then, the sun will always be up, spinning circles overhead.

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