In late August, I spent eight days trekking the might Tombstone Mountains of the Yukon catching the aurora borealis sparkle to my delight. It took a lot of effort to haul my food, clothing and shelter on my back through the rugged Yukon, but it was so worth it. I caught amazing views and the aurora was phenomenal. I am planning another shorter northern lights adventure during the beginning of October. I have decided to fly to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories that is littered with pristine lakes. However, this trip will be a lot easier with roofs over my head and rental cars rather than hiking over giant passes. Yellowknife is the only city in the Northwest Territories and falls directly in the aurora oval in the far north of our globe. The weather is looking decent and the aurora forecast is predicting strong lights.
Two quick flights and I was staring at a stuffed polar bear at the Yellowknife Airport as I grabbed my bag; it felt like I was in the far north. Got a rental car, quick bite to eat and was chilling on a houseboat that I had booked through Airbnb. The clouds were thick and the air was cold but was excited to be deep in Canada with the weather expected to improve.
Many tourists visit Yellowknife in anticipation of seeing the northern lights. There is an Aurora Village that supplies warm beverages and heated teepees. However, I prefer to be deeper, away from humanity & urban lights. I found myself the second night at Reid Lake Territorial Park, a quick drive to the east of Yellowknife down the Ingraham Trail. There was a nice spot that had sweeping views north, east and west over a gorgeous lake. I got my camera ready as the sunset turned to night. Immediately, aurora activity was noticeable to the north. The lake quickly calmed and the show was on. The northern lights sparkled over the lake with a perfect reflection dazzling. It was my first 24 hours in Yellowknife and I was being blown away by the glowing skies. The lights danced to the north then to the east and switching to the west. Finally, the aurora switched to the south. The lights were happening in every direction and I was trying my best to capture what I could with my camera. The show lasted for a solid five hours before clouds descended. It was an unreal night that defies reality.
The next day, got some rest, checked out the visitor center and the city of Yellowknife. However, the real entertainment is the aurora. The third night the aurora was active through the clouds. The show dazzled the crowd gathered at Prosperous Lake but the pictures did not match the prior eve. Though, the glowing skies still make an immense impression of amazement. The fourth day, decided to do a short hike to Cameron Falls which was tranquil and serene. The crowds have thinned out as fall season bring chilly air to the north. Decided to visit Cameron Falls during the eve to see the aurora over the falls. It was another gorgeous eve with the northern lights glowing and shifting over the falls, rivers and lakes of the area. Also caught some of the aurora reflecting in a small lake close to the falls.
It was a quick trip to experience a beautiful and remote from Canada. For those who want a different travel experience to see the northern lights, Yellowknife is a great spot. The Ingraham Trail is an established road that meanders east of the city passing by lakes and beautiful woods. The inland nature of the Northwest Territories does allow for clear eves. The fall is a great time to visit as the lakes have not frozen allowing for amazing reflections. It was a beautiful couple of days and definitely fit the bill of seeing the Northern Lights the easy way.