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Adventures

Spectacular Northwest Territories


Capital Attraction: Aurora Borealis (Fall, Winter, Spring)

In the late 1980s Yellowknife began to attract more than just anglers and hunters in search of backcountry adventures – visitors from around the world began traveling to the capital in the winter during the coldest, darkest months of the year. Of course, it wasn’t the extreme weather they were coming to see, it was space weather – in the form of fall, winter and spring auroras. This would be the start of over 25 years of aurora tourism in Yellowknife, the Diamond Capital of North America.

Today the small vans that launched aurora tourism in Yellowknife have been replaced by comfortable buses, and the capital has become an international centrepiece, with more capacity to support more eager aurora fans than any single destination in the world.

Tour Categories: Nature Viewing, Photography, Dogsledding, Outdoor Adventure, Fishing, Eco-Tourism

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Latitude and Climate

Yellowknife has the two most important ingredients for successful aurora viewing: optimum latitude and climate. Other countries and Canadian territories offer aurora products as well, since Iceland, Greenland, Scandinavia, Russia, Alaska, Yukon and Nunavut all have access to the same auroras (62° North is a prime latitude for viewing the lights), but what sets Yellowknife and the southern half of the Northwest Territories apart is climate. The capital enjoys more clear nights than other locations because it is located in a semi-arid subarctic climate that lies in the rain shadow of the Mackenzie Mountains to the west. This very dark, dry region of Canada can be cold in the winter, but a little chill is well worth the natural thrill of a spectacular Northern Lights display.

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Choose Your Adventure

In the Northwest Territories you can enjoy unforgettable aurora viewing packages or spend time at one of the many world class hunting and fishing lodges just a short flight from the capital. The following Northwest Territories operators are located between 60-64°N latitude:

Aurora Village (Yellowknife)
Aurora Nights (Fort Resolution)
Beck’s Kennels and Aurora Tours (Yellowknife)
Blachford Lake Lodge (Short Flight From Yellowknife)
Enodah Wilderness Lodge (Short Flight From Yellowknife)
Hearne Lake Lodge (Short Flight From Yellowknife)
Land is Life Ltd (Fort Simpson)
My Backyard Tours (Yellowknife)
North Star Adventures (Yellowknife)
Peterson’s Point Lake Lodge
True North Safaris
Yellowknife Outdoor Adventures
Yellow Dog Lodge
Moraine Point Lodge and Wilderness Retreat

For a truly wild aurora viewing experience, do-it-yourself nature fans can enjoy late summer canoeing, kayaking, hiking or camping beneath spectacular early season auroras. Remember to check the weather forecast and research water conditions, forest fire conditions, trail conditions, wildlife and parks/campgrounds before you travel.

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Regional Resources

For more information about Aurora Adventures in Yellowknife and the surrounding area, check out the Northern Frontier Visitors Association website, or you can visit the official website of Northwest Territories Tourism.

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