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Chasing the Northern Lights in Canada: Yellowknife vs Whitehorse
northern lights

Chasing the Northern Lights in Canada: Yellowknife vs Whitehorse

Whitehorse vs. Yellowknife

When considering where to view the Northern lights in Canada, Whitehorse and Yellowknife often come to mind as top choices. In fact, those two locations are renowned for their mesmerising displays of the aurora borealis.

Yellowknife – Northwest Territories

Aurora borealis can be seen in the Northwest Territories 240 nights a year, making it the best place to see them in Canada – if not the world. If possible, try to choose a timeframe in the fall or winter (although summer is also a good option).

An ice-covered wonderland and a dramatic display of the Lights make winter a special time of year. Just outside Yellowknife, Aurora Village, a teepee village, offers a cozy setting for watching the show. A spacious, heated wood-stove teepee, fur-lined couches, and warm viewing capsules are specially designed for aurora observation.

Whitehorse – Yukon

Despite being active all year round, you can only see the lights when it is truly dark. The midnight sun in Yukon in summer doesn’t set, so you’ll have to go in winter to see it. It’s best to go between November and March, when the nights are long and dark. It is fortunate for Yukon, however, that the lights are visible from mid-August to mid-April. At night, you could see the northern lights as well as the reds and golds of the trees during autumn!

It is extremely hard to say which is the best between Whitehorse and Yellowknife. There is no big difference in terms of facilities. If you are very interested in taking photos with Mountains, maybe your choice will be Whitehorse because of the terrain.

How about viewing Northern Lights in other provinces in Canada?

Canada offers a range of other locations beyond Whitehorse and Yellowknife for seeing the Northern Lights. From Alberta to Ontario, Manitoba to British Columbia, these provinces in Canada also offer opportunities for one to catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis. 

Alberta

The northern lights can be seen at Banff National Park during autumn if light pollution from the city does not interfere with darkness. During the golden season, September – the middle of May,  it is a great idea if you add camping and any other activities in the Rockies.  It’s a good idea to get away from human activity, even though Banff often glows with activity. Aurora viewing might be available at Lake Minnewanka, which is less than 10 minutes from town. You can also visit Castle Junction on the way to Lake Louise, the aquamarine Peyto Lake, or the ever-popular Herbert Lake. A herd of 3,000 free-roaming bison can also be found in Wood Buffalo National Park, as well as Jasper National Park, which features famously scenic landscapes. Spend the night camping, bring a warm sleeping bag, and stay up late!

Ontario

Speaking of Ontario or having a plan to trip to Ontario, you absolutely think about Toronto, but actually, people can see the northern lights in Ontario!

If you travel up to Ontario, especially in September and October, you must visit northern Ontario to catch Aurora Borealis because of the best season. There are a variety of places where you can see the northern lights, including Manitoulin Island, Cree Village Ecolodge, and Pukaskwa National Park. Enjoy the numerous outdoor adventure options such as winter horseback riding, snowshoes to ice caves, climb a frozen waterfall, etc,  in northern Ontario during waiting for the lights. It is a wild elegant area undiscovered by most, but fully worth exploring.

Manitoba

You can find Churchill in northern Manitoba, located on the Hudson Bay shoreline, which boasts themself that it is “ one of the top three places on earth” to catch the northern lights. Researchers from around the world visit this polar bear-friendly town that is home to nearly 900 people each year to study the aurora borealis. The best parts of visiting Winnipeg are you can learn more about northern lights and tips to take a photo of lights at the Manitoba museum. In addition, if you have an extra budget a more little bit, combine it with wildlife viewing such as beluga whales, polar bears, Arctic foxes, and more to make your journey more unforgettable.

British Columbia

You can take advantage of great viewing opportunities near Dawson Creek, Muncho Lake Provincial Park, Fort Nelson, and Prince George in British Columbia. The Peace River region offers a number of options, including Burns Lake. Also check out Chetwynd, a spot in the Canadian Rockies.

It is possible to see Aurora Borealis in lower latitudes at times when they surge south. These can be seen along the Sunshine Coast and around Sechelt, or along the Sea to Sky Highway in areas like Squamish or Whistler. Keeping away from cities like Metro Vancouver with their light pollution is the key.

Source: WHERE TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS, Best Places to See the Northern Lights in British Columbia, Canada

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