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Best National Parks in the USA to See the Northern Lights

What could be more memorable than seeing the Northern Lights in a US National Park? The Northern Lights are one of the world's greatest natural wonders. Although the Northern Lights are most frequently observed in sub-Arctic and Arctic locations, they may also be frequently spotted in the northern states of the continental USA. We've put up a list of the top 9 national parks in the USA to see the northern lights to aid you in planning your upcoming aurora-watching excursion.

But before that, let's look more closely at what creates the Northern Lights and the ideal viewing circumstances. The Northern Lights, sometimes referred to as the Aurora Borealis, are brought on by the collision of electrically charged solar particles with gases in Earth's atmosphere. The oxygen and nitrogen molecules are excited by the collision, and depending on their altitude, they release light that is colored differently. The darkest areas of the northern continental states, including Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Washington, are the greatest spots in the US to observe the Northern Lights. The best time to see the northern lights in Alaska is from mid-September to late April because it is impossible to see them during the long summer days.

It's crucial to be aware of the forecast and the optimal viewing times if you want to make the most of your aurora viewing experience. A real-time aurora forecast map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Weather Service (NWS) provides a 20–40 minute forecast of the likelihood of viewing a visible aurora. The Kp Index, a 0–9 scale used to describe the size of geomagnetic storms, is also shown on the map. The aurora will be more active and brighter the higher the number. The ideal time to see the Northern Lights is usually between midnight and three in the morning since the circumstances are optimum when the sky is dark.

Here are our top 9 selections for the greatest National Parks in the USA to see the Northern Lights, without further ado:

  1. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

  2. North Cascades National Park, Washington

  3. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

  4. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

  5. Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

  6. Glacier National Park, Montana

  7. Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Montana and Alberta, Canada

  8. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

  9. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska

It's crucial to pick a park that is renowned for its black skies, little light pollution, and clear skies in order to truly appreciate the northern lights. The aforementioned national parks are all great places to see the aurora borealis, but bear in mind that these natural phenomena can be erratic and appear at any time, so it's always a good idea to check the forecast and be ready for an unforgettable experience.

Whether you've seen the Northern Lights before or this is your first time, seeing them in a US National Park is awe-inspiring and unforgettable. Understanding the reasons, circumstances, and prediction for the Northern Lights will help you get the most out of your aurora-watching experience and enjoy one of the world's most spectacular displays.

There are several additional crucial considerations to make in order to be ready for the experience, in addition to visiting national parks to view the Northern Lights. Having the appropriate gear to stay warm is among the most crucial things. An excellent choice is a lightweight down jacket because it is wind- and water-resistant, packs down tiny, and offers a lot of warmth. A hooded sweatshirt, which is a little heavier than a down jacket but offers warmth without being as heated as a down jacket, is another option you may think about packing. A nice pair of tech-friendly gloves can also keep your hands toasty while enabling you to adjust your phone and camera settings.

To improve your chances of seeing the lights, make sure to organize your travel in accordance with this.

Happy aurora hunting!


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