20 Incredible Campsites Illuminated by the Glow of the Aurora Borealis


Canada, Trapline Mountain, Northern Lights - Brandon Broderick
Image: Brandon Broderick Photography
Camping on Trapline Mountain in Canada’s British Columbia can be illuminating.

When electrically charged particles given off by the Sun collide with Earth’s atmosphere, ethereal hues of green, yellow, red and blue light up the skies around the globe’s polar extremities. These solar particles worm their way through the planet’s magnetic field and interact with the accumulated gases around the North and South Poles. Which spectacular resulting colors are observed depends on the gases the particles encounter at different altitudes.

The Northern Lights can be seen throughout much of the year from locations seemingly tailor-made for outdoorsy “aurora borealis” hunters. Here, we take a look at 20 camping spots illuminated by their lights’ mesmerizing glow, kicking off with this beautiful shot taken by photographer Brandon Broderick on Trapline Mountain near Terrace in western Canada.

Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota, Northern Lights -  Steve Burns
Image: Steve Burns
In this image, Northern Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park – which is bordered by Canada – looks out of this world.

The Northern Lights put on as much of a show in the winter night skies above Canada and Alaska as they do in the heavens over northern Scandinavia and Iceland. Furthermore, in periods of extreme auroral activity, the lights – amazingly – have been spotted as far south as Alabama, Georgia and Arkansas. Closer to the Canadian border, though, is northern Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park, where student Steve Burns captured this dreamy shot.


Camping under the Northern Lights
Image: Bryan Hansel
Setting up camp in another world

Like the previous image, this incredible aurora capture by award-winning photographer Bryan Hansel was snapped in northern Minnesota. Hansel ventured to Cook County’s Superior National Forest in June 2013 in search of the perfect shot, and he was lucky enough to witness the Northern Lights from dusk till dawn on this particular night. That said, perhaps it wasn’t luck: according to Visit Cook County, the aurora can be spotted here quite regularly during fall and winter.