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See the fall colors and the northern lights in one trip?

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Kuala Lumpur...
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See the fall colors and the northern lights in one trip?

My wife and I will b in Houston, TX around Sept this year and we plan to visit Alaska. Is it possible to see the fall colors and the northern lights in one trip to Fairbanks, Alaska? When is the best month to do this?

Edited: 11:25 am, January 04, 2011
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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1. Re: See the fall colors and the northern lights in one trip?

It's a long shot (but possible) given the amount of darkness necessary to see the aurora, which is solar activity dependent and not very reliably forecasted on a long-range basis. Folks saw some nice auroras in last August and September this past year.

I would say September (more towards the middle of the month) would give you the best opportunity, but even the fall color change is somewhat difficult to predict. This past fall, there was still a lot of green around through about 9/12. The yellows of the birch trees was beautiful at higher elevations.

Denali NP is probably more at peak in early September, but that's just a guess. We loved what we got to experience this past year, arriving at Denali NP 8/28/10.

Edited: 11:36 am, January 04, 2011
fti
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2. Re: See the fall colors and the northern lights in one trip?

Pretty much luck to see the Norhern Lights actually. But I was camping at Wonder Lake in Denali NP last August (about 23 August). Fall colors were changing as we were there - not quite peak yet but pretty vibrant. And one morning at 2am I got up to use the restroom. Looked south to see if Mt. McKinley was visible (it was - 100% cloudless!) then turned to head north to the restroom. The Northern Lights were dancing in the sky. What a sight. A bit too faint to photograph, but a great show nonetheless.

Talkeetna, Alaska
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3. Re: See the fall colors and the northern lights in one trip?

As has been said, it is the luck of the draw, however, September is a beautiful time of the year in Alaska, even without seeing the Aurora. If you wait too long into the month, you will miss some of the color. This past September, by mid month, there were already alot of bare trees further into Denali National Park, but the color from Anchorage going North was lovely.

Coming home from DNP one night, my husband and I saw the Aurora Borealis. What a treat, as it was my husbands first time to see them.

Good news is that the Aurora is on about an 11 year cycle, and the next peak is Winter 2011-12!

Best of luck on your Alaskan Adventure!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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4. Re: See the fall colors and the northern lights in one trip?

>>>Good news is that the Aurora is on about an 11 year cycle, and the next peak is Winter 2011-12!<<<

I'm not sure if that is wishful thinking or from some scientist but all I've read is that with us just coming out of the solar minimum (yes an 11-13 yr cycle), it is pretty doubtful it will swing that quickly

Manitoba, Canada
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5. Re: See the fall colors and the northern lights in one trip?

That's what I've read on several sites too, Von.

Here is one that is easy to understand: http://aurorahunter.com/aurora-prediction.php

According to that site, the next max is expected 2013, and will be nowhere as good as the last one in 2000. Let's hope they're wrong....

Bethlehem, PA, USA
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6. Re: See the fall colors and the northern lights in one trip?

I've been reading conflicting reports about the intensity of the Aurora (11 years, Cycles, Solar activity - it's all so confusing!) The way I see it, I'm just heading out and hoping to remember to pack some luck in my suitcase.

We arrive in Denali on Saturday August 27th, and stay there until Monday, August 29th when we head to Fairbanks. The 29th is a New Moon, so even though we will be early, we're hoping to catch a glimpse of the lights. *Fingers Crossed!* Best of luck to all those traveling this year as well!

fti
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7. Re: See the fall colors and the northern lights in one trip?

>>We arrive in Denali on Saturday August 27th, and stay there until Monday, August 29th when we head to Fairbanks.

One key is to be away from lights. That means I hope you are staying either in Healy or Carlo Creek. "Glitter Gulch" would not be a good place to see the Northern Lights. The darker the better.

Bethlehem, PA, USA
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8. Re: See the fall colors and the northern lights in one trip?

>> One key is to be away from lights. That means I hope you are staying either in Healy or Carlo Creek. "Glitter Gulch" would not be a good place to see the Northern Lights. The darker the better.

I'm not exactly sure where you are referring to... We're on a tour with the cruiseline so in Denali we're at the Denali Princess Lodge. And then in Fairbanks we're at the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge, the address there is 4477 Pikes Landing Road, Fairbanks, AK 99709. I was thinking Fairbanks would be the better shot, since it's more north and we will be there the night of the New Moon.

Fairbanks, Alaska
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9. Re: See the fall colors and the northern lights in one trip?

I like it here in the interior during September. A stillness come across the land after the hunting season closes and the last RV heads towards Canada.

Your odds for seeing the Northern Lights are somewhat dim in September but I do turn them on sometimes. Heck I can’t even guarantee a good light show during any month, until we get close to solar max.

fti
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10. Re: See the fall colors and the northern lights in one trip?

>>I'm not exactly sure where you are referring to... We're on a tour with the cruiseline so in Denali we're at the Denali Princess Lodge. And then in Fairbanks we're at the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge, the address there is 4477 Pikes Landing Road, Fairbanks, AK 99709. I was thinking Fairbanks would be the better shot, since it's more north and we will be there the night of the New Moon.

As far as I can see, this is the first time you mentioned you were on a cruisetour. Sorry, we are not mindreaders :-)

It will be tougher to see the Northern Lights if you are in "Glitter Gulch" in Denali (lights even in the middle of the night). Not sure where the Princess Lodge is in Fairbanks, but my guess is you would need a good 5-10 minute walk, if not more, away from the lodge to get any semblance of darkness.

Ask the front desk of the hotels to alert you if the aurora is seen, and check out the forecast websites (I don't have the links in front of my but I always just do a google search for aurora forecast).

Hope it works out for you.