Northern Lights Viewer's Guide

Follow these tips to make the most out of the northern night skies.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

No trail signs will point you toward the northern lights, nor will GPS coordinates lead you to the exact location of the next display. But you can increase your odds by following a few basic rules:

  • Plan your trip during moonless periods to ensure the darkest skies.
  • Head out during spring or fall equinox, when the lights are usually most active.
  • Choose a campsite with an unobstructed view of the northern sky.
  • Stay up late, since the most active hours for the lights are from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m.
  • Give your eyes plenty of time-at least 20 minutes-to adjust to the darkness.

Trending on Backpacker