arctic aurora borealis

Aurora

Come for the lights. Leave enlightened.

"The Lights are out!" A cry of delight echoes through remote lodges or busy Yellowknife restaurants, sending everyone scurrying for the exits with their parkas half-zipped and their cameras whirring to life. Above, a phosphorescent fog floats in the ink-black sky. It creeps across the dome of the night, gaining intensity, flickering with tendrils of emerald, then jade, like plumes of strange fire. Around you, the evergreens are framed in a weird unearthly gleam. You're gasping and squealing with complete strangers. Don't be embarrassed. You've just witnessed nature's greatest lightshow.

The Northwest Territories is the world's Northern Lights mecca. Here, the Aurora dance an average of 200 nights per year. Why are the Northern Lights so frequent in the NWT? Because Canada's subarctic is blessed with crystal-clear nights, ultra-low humidity, and a perfect location directly beneath the Earth's band of maximal Auroral activity – the "Auroral oval."

There are two Aurora seasons in the Northwest Territories. There's autumn, when the land and lakes are still warm, and winter, when the lakes are frozen over. Licensed NWT tour operators provide all manner of Northern Lights experiences – from rugged "aurora-hunting" adventures to pampered stays at luxury lodges – giving you a front-row seat to the mysterious, magical and life-affirming cosmic dance.

Aurora 223 ee20479f-552b-4552-8291-566042c7c549
Aurora over the snow

Bundle up and let Mother Nature put on her magical show

Aurora reflected over a lake in the fall

Dark skies return, and the lights only come out at night

Get our Free Explorers' Guide

Is the Northwest Territories on your must-see list? Order or download our free Explorers' Guide to plan your trip of a lifetime.