Seeing the Northern Lights is a magical experience no matter where you are. But seeing them where there are no city lights, sounds, or vehicles makes that experience even better.
In the Boundary Waters away from civilization you’ll be standing in awe, taking in the breathtaking display of colors dancing across the skies. In this blog post, we will embark on a journey to experience the Northern Lights away from civilization in the tranquil wilderness of the Boundary Waters.
Nestled in the Superior National Forest, the Boundary Waters is a million-acre expanse of pristine lakes, lush forests, and rugged terrain. Accessible only by canoe or on foot, this remote region offers a unique opportunity to reconnect with nature and escape the distractions of modern life. Far from the city lights, the BWCAW provides an International Dark Sky Sanctuary (one of only thirteen locations in the world) which makes the perfect setting for an unobstructed view of the Northern Lights.
It’s hard to plan on seeing the Northern Lights as they don’t operate on a precise schedule and Summer nights are shorter making the opportunity each night shorter than the longer cold nights of winter. Leaving the hustle and bustle of city life and heading up to the Boundary Waters increases your chances without light pollution.
Experiencing the Northern Lights in the Boundary Waters is a rare privilege that offers a glimpse into the soul of our planet and the vastness of the cosmos. As you are watching the vivid colors dance above the wilderness’s treetop and reflected off the still waters it is a reminder of the beauty and significance of the natural world and our role in protecting it.
So, how do you increase your chances of seeing Aurora Borealis? Here are a few tips:
You could head to the North Pole. The closer you get the more your chances increase. If you aren’t keen on leaving the country you can head to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters which is roughly 2,800 miles away, second only to Alaska which is 1,738 miles from the pole. North Dakota, Maine, Idaho, and Wyoming respectively following the U.S. Northern Border. We found mileage from this tool. You can see how far you are too.
Best Known Aurora Forecasting Apps
Download an app or two to help you predict when the Northern Lights will be seen. Apps like My Aurora Forecast Pro, TINAC Inc. – Aurora Forecast, and Aurora-Alerts.com – Aurora Borealis Forecast & Alerts use KP Indexing to predict the likelihood of Northern Lights activity. You can learn how to read Aurora forecasts on the link or through the help info in each app.
jRustonApps B.V. – My Aurora Forecast Pro
TINAC Inc. – Aurora Forecast
Aurora-Alerts.com – Aurora Borealis Forecast & Alerts
Plan a week-long trip to have a variety of opportunities for good weather. Cross your finger on clear skies and a rising KP Index.
Follow Facebook and other social media groups like:
- Upper Midwest Aurora Chasers
- Aurora Chasing Minnesota
- Aurora Borealis Chasers – The Northern Lights
- Aurora Borealis Notifications Group
- Great Lakes Aurora Shooters
- Pacific Northwest US & Canada Aurora Borealis Chasers
Following the groups enables a Bat Signal for Aurora activity. Once the chatter starts the images of the skies start popping up and you’ll watch as the Aurora works its way across the country’s sky to the BWCA.
Find an elevated clear spot or a south shore of a lake looking North. Even if the chances are low there is an offset chance that there is a 30-minute window that you may see them. To capture the moment there is no need for a fancy camera, all you need is your cellphone.
The long game is to follow and plan to be in the BWCA during the peak of the solar cycle projected for 2025 the Aurora will be more prominent while a solar minimum projected for 2030 predicts less Aurora activity.
If you’re seeking an otherworldly adventure that will stay with you forever, venture into the heart of the Boundary Waters and let the Northern Lights illuminate your spirit.