A dogsled, a snowy trail, and the aurora borealis (a.k.a., the northern lights). That is how many imagine the Northwest Territories —a winter wonderland, bathed in glowing lights. But you don’t have to wait for the long nights of winter to enjoy this celestial phenomenon. Increasingly, aurora-watchers are discovering the pluses of visiting the Northwest Territories in summer. After all, the northern lights flash and flicker year-round, their intensity dependent entirely on solar events. So if a flare of plasma erupts from the sun, spewing charged particles toward the Earth, the northern lights will go gangbusters.
While it’s true that sky-gazers must stay up a bit later in summer to enjoy the cosmic lightshow, they’re in for a treat. Arguably, seeing the northern lights is best in summer: You can take a boat tour, sit beside a campfire beneath the dancing lights, or fish, hike, or camp as the lights sparkle overhead.
If you prefer a guided experience, northern lights tour operators welcome guests from August to early October, with experiences ranging from stays at fly-in wilderness lodges to daytime tours in the Northwest Territories’ capital city, Yellowknife.