WHITEHORSE YUKON The secretly preserved Northern Territory of Canada, is a remarkable place to visit if you want a less commercial place than Alaska and Iceland to view the Northern Lights and participate in winter activities.
In partnership with Northern Tales Travel Services, I made a trip up to Whitehorse YUKON to try to capture amazing shots of the Aurora Borealis.
Before I begin on that adventure, some brief history about this lovely place. Yukon is situated at the north most part of Canada, right next to Alaska.
Yukon has always been popular for 2 key industries.
of precious metals, minerals and gold since the 1897 Gold Rush
Beautiful scenery all year round for outdoor activities, wildlife spotting and northern lights spotting among the locals
I landed at Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon. It got its name from the water rapids spotted in the area, which soar so high they look like the manes of white charging horses. Unfortunately, the rapids are not viewable as the waters are frozen during winter.
So starting on my adventure to catch some northern lights:
I flew up to Whitehorse from Vancouver with Air North, which is the domestic airline for Yukon. Only 2 airlines go up there – Air North and Air Canada. It was a very pleasant experience with a jaw-dropping view of the mountains below.
The cold in Yukon takes some getting used to. The average temperature is between -5 to -25 Degree Celsius in the month of November, and that isn’t even the coldest month. In February, it can drop to -40 Degrees Celsius! However in summer days, which is end May – beginning Aug, it can reach 26 Degrees Celsius during in the day, and you can also witness the ‘Midnight Sun’ phenomenon.
Northern Lights Viewing starts from late at night
Catching the northern lights is the highlight of this trip I made. We set off from the Best Western Gold Rush Inn at 10pm and camp at the Aurora Village till 2am for aurora spotting.
One of the main popular hotels along the Whitehorse main street belt. Stayed 4 nights here in the cosy bedroom.
Weather conditions in Yukon for Northern Lights
Aurora spotting is highly dependent on the weather conditions, especially cloud cover, so you should plan a 3-4 nights stay to maximise your chances.
Before the pick up by Northern Tales Agency from your hotel, come prepared in good wind proof winter gear. If not, you may rent the clothing from the tour company at a small fee. Most important in my opinion is to come prepared with a beanie and scarf over your head and neck, thick winter shoes and wind insulated jacket.
Accommodation and housing in Yukon for Aurora Spotting
Stay warm in the lovely Aurora Village wooden hut, also known as ‘The Trading Post which has a nice fire stove that helps defrost those freezing hands and feet. This cosy cabin also comes stocked with lovely snacks like marshmallows, pretzels and cookies (my recommendation). Also, nothing feels better than to drink a nice cup of hot chocolate and munch on some chips and snacks on a cold winter’s night.
While waiting for the Aurora, there are 2 things I would recommend to entertain yourself with:
1. Eating, Drinking and Chatting
The guides from Northern Tales are so friendly and knowledgeable, with amazing stories about wildlife and the history of Yukon to share all the time.
If you really like winter cold, Canada has a whole lot of outdoor activities, read on about them.
2. Play with Light Sticks
After many hours of patiently waiting, we finally got to see some strong activity in the sky on the 3rd night at approximately 1+am!
The beautiful Aurora Borealis in Yukon
Once you get a glimpse of the highly anticipated Aurora Borealis, the experience itself is truly spectacular and exciting. It is usually more visible in tones of green, but if lucky, you can see tones of red and purple as well. Everybody gets really excited after taking the photos and see the pretty colours come out on the camera screen. It makes all the wait truly worth it.
So thinking of making a trip in 2016 to catch some northern light? Start making your plans to visit Whitehorse Yukon to catch the Aurora tours with Northern Tales, which has amazing guides, lovely service and pleasant experience for all their guests. To find out more about the tours, you can check out Northern Tales Website.
Thank you and stay tuned for my next story on winter activities in Yukon.
Before going on your next travel adventure, consider booking Affordable Travel Insurance from US$14 onwards for that peace of mind! 🙂
Interested in other activities like dog sledding or wildlife spotting in Yukon?
Federico JayJanuary 2, 2016 at 7:13 pm
Exceptional article, great pictures and fantastic experience!
LydiascapesJanuary 13, 2016 at 5:19 am
Thank you Federico! I had a great time indeed. Read up on the other Canada adventures I did like dog sledding. It was so much fun
DannyMarch 9, 2016 at 11:36 pm
Just curious. Is there any particular period or months that has a higher chance of seeing the nothern light at whitehorse yukon?
LydiascapesMarch 10, 2016 at 2:24 am
Hi Danny! Thanks for your note;) The best time to visit Yukon to catch the lights is between late Aug to mid April. This period has the combination of the better weather and most/ strongest amount of ‘activity’ spotted. However, you need a combination of both factors to capture some really great shots, so always advisable to at least have a 4-5 days aurora spotting to take into consideration these weather changes.