Aurora Tracks See Northern Lights

Where & When to See Northern Lights YELLOWKNIFE CANADA

how to see northern lights yellowknife canada

Planning a trip to Canada for the aurora? If so, Yellowknife should be on your list. In this guide, we explain precisely when and where you can expect to see northern lights Yellowknife Canada.

When it comes to hunting for the northern lights in Canada, nothing beats Yellowknife. This popular destination in the Northwest Territories is known as being one of the premier destinations for viewing the elusive lights. Located well within the auroral oval, Yellowknife boasts some of the highest odds of capturing a glimpse of the lights as they dance across the night skies. For those looking for a truly unforgettable experience, Yellowknife has it all.

In this article, we explain how you can see northern lights Yellowknife Canada, including the best viewing locations and time of year.

When to See Northern Lights Yellowknife Canada

Best Time to Visit for Northern Lights Yellowknife Canada

Best Months for Aurora Activity

You can view the northern lights in Yellowknife Canada throughout the year, but it’s when the nights are at their longest that the opportunities to view the most vivid displays imaginable occur. During the winter months, when the nights are the longest, the chances of viewing the aurora borealis as they light up the northern skies, increases dramatically. This is why you want to visit the region between September and April, rather than the summer months.

However, if you want to increase your odds of viewing the elusive lights even more, then you’ll need to plan your trip to Yellowknife between December and February when the skies are clear and the nights are extremely long.

Best Years Based on Solar Cycle

Our sun operates on a cycle that peeks out every 11 years. During its peak, the amount of radiation ejected from the sun increases dramatically, and solar radiation charges the upper atmosphere creating the vivid displays of light. Although it’s possible to view the aurora borealis at any point during the solar cycle, the best opportunity to capture a glimpse of the ghostly lights is during the next peak which is set to take place in 2025. For more info, check out our article on choosing the best year based on solar cycle.

Moon Cycle and Other Timing Considerations

When planning your trip to Yellowknife, make sure to look up the moon cycles, and plan your visit during a new moon. This is the time of month when the moon is not visible at all, as even a crescent moon can create excessive amounts of light pollution which will interfere with your ability to experience the most vivid displays.

For more info on timing, check out our article on when to see the aurora borealis in Canada.

canada yellowknife lakes are excellent aurora viewing locations
The lakes around Yellowknife Canada are excellent aurora viewing locations in winter.

Where to See Northern Lights Yellowknife Canada

Yellowknife Canada Northern Lights Viewing Locations

Prelude Lake Territorial Park


You will find the Prelude Lake Territorial Park about 20 miles east of Yellowknife. This tranquil setting in the boreal forest provides visitors with a peaceful and serene opportunity to view the northern lights in Yellowknife Canada. Thanks to the number of lakes located throughout the park, you will find ample opportunities to view the aurora borealis.

  • Be Mindful of Weather Changes
  • Familiarize Yourself with Camping Regulations
  • Be Mindful of Local Wildlife
  • Wear Extra Layers of Clothing

Cameron Falls Trail


Located deep within Hidden Lake Territorial Park, the Cameron Falls Trail is well-known by the locals as the perfect destination for viewing the northern lights Yellowknife Canada. The picturesque setting is amplified when the elusive lights shimmer off the cascading waterfalls. Make your way along the numerous trails situated throughout the boreal forest, and find the perfect destination along the shores of any one of the numerous lakes and streams located within the park’s boundaries.

  • Be Mindful of Dangerous Trail Conditions
  • Bring a Headlamp or Flashlight
  • Be Careful of Bears and Other Wildlife in the Area
  • Dress Warmly and Wear Extra Layers

Aurora Village


When it comes to viewing the aurora borealis in style, look no further than the Aurora Village. This popular destination is located just outside of Yellowknife and is a dedicated facility for viewing the elusive lights. Situated within the boreal forest, along the shores of a pristine lake, the Aurora Village provides visitors with cozy heated teepees and panoramic viewing decks. But if you plan on visiting the Aurora Village, make sure you book ahead as reservations are required.

  • Reservations Are Required
  • Wear Extra Layers of Clothing
  • Bring Cash to Enjoy Added Amenities
aurora village yellowknife canada northern lights
Pictured: Aurora Village – Yellowknife Canada northern lights resort

Walsh Lake

Walsh Lake is a well-known destination for viewing the aurora borealis and is located just about 25 miles northeast of Yellowknife. This secluded destination provides a pristine setting for those hunting for the elusive lights, far away from urban areas. Find the perfect spot along the shores of Walsh Lake to view the ghostly lights as they dance across the night skies.

  • Be Prepared for Road Closures
  • Off-Road Vehicles during the Winter Are a Must
  • Be Mindful of Wildlife in the Area
  • Check Local Weather Conditions before Heading out

Ingraham Trail

Ingraham Trail is a scenic route that can be found 45 miles east of Yellowknife and is more commonly known as Highway 4. This trail provides access to several different lakes, viewpoints, and many of the best Aurora viewing spots that Yellowknife has to offer. Make your way down the winding trail as you travel through the boreal forest, where you will find countless designated pullout areas for viewing and photographing the auroras.

  • Be Prepared for Road Closures
  • Dress Warmly and Wear Extra Layers
  • Be Mindful of Slippery Trails
  • Bring Extra Food and Drinks

Vee Lake

Vee Lake is only 18 miles northeast of Yellowknife, yet offers a remote and tranquil setting for experiencing the Yellowknife Canada northern lights far away from the urban center. The rugged hillsides offer visitors seclusion from the many distractions found in other destinations around Yellowknife.

  • Be Mindful of Bears and Other Wildlife
  • Be Prepared for Road Closures
  • Be Mindful of Slippery Trails
  • Check the Weather before Heading Out

Yellowknife Bay

You will find that Yellowknife Bay offers visitors an expansive view of the night sky along the shores of the Great Slave Lake. When the aurora borealis lights up the night skies, they reflect off the icy surface of the lake, providing visitors with a surreal experience like no other. Enjoy the peaceful settings, far away from the hustle and bustle of urban city life.

  • Dress Warmly and Bring Extra Clothing
  • Check for Icy Conditions
  • Exercise Caution When Venturing out onto the Lake
  • Monitor Local Weather Conditions
  • Limited Local Amenities

Prospector’s Trail

If you are looking for a convenient location to view the northern lights without having to leave Yellowknife Canada, then look no further than Prospector’s Trail. This scenic trail wanders its way through the boreal forest that surrounds the city, and although still within the city limits of Yellowknife, it provides visitors with an opportunity to view the aurora borealis without having to venture out into the Canadian wilderness.

  • Call Ahead for Trail Closures
  • Bring a Flashlight or Headlamp
  • Wear Extra Layers of Clothing
  • Be Mindful of Local Wildlife


This closes off our guide to seeing northern lights in Yellowknife Canada. To briefly recap, the major things you should factor into your trip are:

Northern Lights Yellowknife Canada key points:

  • MONTH: For the best viewing opportunity, aim for December to February.
  • SEASON: Aim for the Winter months, and avoid Summer.
  • LIGHT POLLUTION: Stay away from city lights and full moons, so you can get the sky at its darkest.

Yellowknife Canada is one of the top destinations in the world for aurora-hunters, so as long as you get the timing right, you are already in the right place for some excellent Yellowknife Canada northern lights viewing opportunities.

For more tips, check out our article on when to see the aurora in Canada and start gathering ideas for where to stay in our Canada northern lights resorts and hotels guide.

happy aurora hunting!

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