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Aurora Tours

 

For many, seeing and photographing the aurora borealis, or northern lights, is a life goal. And it should be! Few natural phenomena compare. And very few places have better viewing conditions than interior and northern Alaska.

There is a caveat of course, and it’s this: the aurora is only visible from the late fall to the early spring; the rest of the year there is too much daylight. The best times to watch are usually around the shoulder seasons in late September and October, and in March to the first day or two in April. These time windows, in addition to being warmer, with longer daylight hours, also coincide with the usual peak of aurora activity around the fall and spring equinox. March in particular combines relatively mild temperatures, good chances for the northern lights, and since it’s the driest month of the year, the best chance for clear skies.

I offer small-group (maximum 6 participants), one-night, and multi-day tours based out of Fairbanks. I almost always work with individuals, couples, families, and groups of friends who want to escape the hustle and bustle of large, group tours. Custom trips are what I do best, and that’s what I want to bring to aurora viewing.

 

Single-night Tours (4-5 hours)

The Aurora Hunt: I’ll pick you up at your hotel around 10pm, and we’ll head out in search of the northern lights. If the weather is good, we’ll visit some of my favorite areas within an hour of Fairbanks, allowing for maximum time to watch the lights and less time driving. However, if the weather isn’t clear, then we may venture farther afield in search of clear skies. Using the current weather and aurora forecast data, we may drive up to two hours in search of clear skies. Though there is never a guarantee to see the lights, this option gives you the best possible chance. Hot drinks, water, light snacks, aurora photography instruction, and a portrait are included.

Rates: 1 person – $275, 2 people: $425, 3-4 people: $525, 5-6 people: $600

 

Camp-fire Night and Lights: Around 10pm I’ll pick you up from your hotel and we will drive a short distance north of town, to my secluded 10 acre property in the Goldstream Valley. There, we will light a camp-fire and watch the dark skies over my home. When the lights appear, the big spruces that lie on my property make a beautiful foreground, and the open creek valley a few feet below the fire ring offers wide-open views of the northern sky. This is a sublime way to spend an Alaskan night: a crackling fire, roasting marshmallows, and dancing aurora borealis. It’s a combination that can’t be beat. Hot drinks, water, snacks (smores!), aurora photography instruction, and a portrait are included.

Rates: 1 person – $275, 2 people: $425, 3-4 people: $525, 5-6 people: $600

 

Mushing Beneath the Aurora: I’ll greet you at your hotel at 10pm and we will make the 20 minute drive from town to the mushing kennel of Boreal Journeys. At their homestead along Goldstream Creek, we will meet mushers Dave and Jenna. We will learn about dog mushing, their unique rural life-style, and the history of the sport in Alaska, all while keeping an eye on the dark skies above for the appearance of the aurora. A half-hour dogsled ride on their private trails is the highlight of the evening. After running dogs, we may build a fire on the creek ice to roast marshmallows, or just wander the snowy trails while watching the dancing northern lights. Hot drinks, water, snacks, dog mushing tour, aurora photography instruction, and portraits are included.

Rates: This exceptional tour is by special arrangement, and booking well in advance is recommended. Please contact me for details using the form below.

 

Multi-day Arctic Aurora Photography Workshop (maximum 6 participants)

If you are serious about the northern lights, then you’ll want to dedicate more than day to it. This trip carries you away from Fairbanks to the historic village of Wiseman in the Brooks Range of northern Alaska. In the quiet of the northern wilderness, where there are few distractions, we have the time dedicate ourselves entirely to photography. We will stay in a log cabin at a bed and breakfast where we will have lunches and dinner family-style and breakfast (sourdough pancakes!) provided by our hosts. During the daylight hours we can examine the historic cabins, and gold-rush era mining equipment of Wiseman, walk the snowy trails or the frozen river, admire the rugged mountain scenery, or head out in the vehicle to look for wildlife and new views of the Brooks Range in the winter. There is no better trip to find and photograph the aurora, Alaska’s winter landscape, and northern wildlife than this 5-day, 4-night trip. Transportation (vehicle) from Fairbanks, all meals, and photography instruction are provided. For a detailed itinerary or more information, contact me using the form below. (Advance booking at least 6 months in advance is strongly recommended.) See a sample itinerary HERE.

Rates: Vary by number of participants but, for example, with 4 people price is approx. $2000 per person (double occupancy). Contact me for an exact quote for your group.