Odds Of Northern Lights (In Alaska) in Late August

The Question:

I am seeing mixed information about Northern Lights in August, and wonder if there is any reliable information about this skirt season/chances of seeing the lights in Fairbanks around August 25-27? Maybe historical presentation data?

I am a student in a year round program and the only chance I have to break away is between August 14 and August 27, with the new semester starting the following week.

I would love to see the Aurora Borealis, and have heard that it is *possible* at this time of year, but don’t have a great idea of what that means (possible like a very rare thing or possible like maybe 50/50 chance or better etc.). If we felt our chances were very low it could definitely change the plans for our route, and we’re hoping to finalize plans this month as it seems everything is booking up quickly 🙂

Thank you for your help!

And an update further down the thread:

Sorry, I phrased that poorly in my original post- those dates are my break in school, but we probably won’t be gone for the whole 2 weeks. I was just more motivated to keep our trip to the 2nd half of that two weeks if it gave me a better shot at seeing the Northern Lights. We kind of have to compromise my availability and my husband’s ability to get away from work for an extended period

We’re looking at probably an 8 night trip and it sounds like the feedback is definitely see Denali 😉 which was on the previous itinerary before Fairbanks. I am finding myself drawn to Kenai area, but I think we could do both if we stick with Seward.

Revised would be: 1 night in Anchorage upon arrival (flight gets in 8:30 PM)

Drive to Seward, 3 nights (sea life center, fishing charter, water taxi to kayak Aialik Bay)

Seward to (Talkeetna?) 1 night (other threads I’ve browsed suggest against Seward-Denali in 1 day)

Denali National Park 2 nights

back to Anchorage 1 night before flying home

-Does that sound doable or ridiculous? lol 🙂

My Answer:

I think your plan is a pretty good one. I would not go to Fairbanks just for the slim chance of seeing the northern lights in August.

It is a lot of driving, but that’s usually part of an Alaska road trip!

I have one other option, just to throw out there. Since you will be staying inSeward for three nights and most of your top activities are based in the central part of town you could take the train from Anchorage instead of driving. The train ride is so nice and scenic. Then just make sure you book accommodation in the central part of town. The Sea Life Center, kayak company, and fishing charters will be withing walking distance. There are some shuttles if you wanted to go out to Exit Glacier. And if you did want a car for one of the days you could rent one in town for the day, there is a Hertz. When you get back to Anchorage you could pick up a rental car for Talkeetna and Denali. You might want to spend a night in Anchorage after returning to Seward since the train gets in after 8PM, but then getting to Denali in one shot won’t be too bad. Or you could drive to get a little farther from Anchorage that night and stay in Palmer or Wasilla, maybe even making a visit to Hatcher’s Pass before getting to Denali?

I’m a person who likes options and loves train rides so I just wanted to share the knowledge.

Happy travels!

Original Post:



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