Top easy to drive to Aurora viewing locations in Fairbanks Alaska. If you are traveling to Fairbanks to view the Northern Lights and you have rental car already and are not wanting to spend a lot of money booking a tour here are some fantastic locations to view the Aurora borealis that are easy to drive to in any rental car.
- Murphy Dome – This is one of the best locations close to town. With an altitude of 2,890 feet, Murphy Dome is one of the highest peaks in the Fairbanks area, offering 360 degree views. It is just a short 30 minute drive from town on a road that is regularly maintained. If the Aurora is out, this location will not disappoint.
- Cleary Summit – A very nice pull out on the side of the road. This location falls into second place with just a 45 minute drive on regularly maintained roads, offering north facing views with very low light pollution and vibrant views of the stars and Aurora. Along the way out there are multiple pull offs you can stop to view the lights. The Borealis pretty much dominates the sky where ever you are out when they are out.
- Wickersham Dome– This is quite the drive especially in the winter, but the skies are incredible. This area has zero light pollution, making for some of the best Aurora photography. This is a 58 mile drive or 1.5 hour drive to a large pull out on the side of the Elliot Highway (the haul road). Along the way there are many pull offs to stop and view. This location is also the last place you will have any cell service when traveling North to Deadhorse, the village that is only a few miles away from Prudhoe Bay, site of North America’s largest oil discovery.
- Chena Pump Boat Launch – Quick and easy, it’s located close to town. If you don’t want to travel far this is a great convenient and safe location to drive to before catching your flight out of Fairbanks. Just a short 15 minute drive from town, the landscape overlooks the frozen Tanana River and bluffs making an excellent backdrop to capture the lights.
- Hagelbarger Viewpoint – This location is the easiest of them all to get to, it’s roughly 5 min from town. This is a common make-out and watch the sunset location for locals and a great place to easily view Aurora at night. Of course there are some draw backs to this location such as light pollution, ice fog at times, and traffic.
We regularly visit these locations and many more on our Aurora Tours, as well as many other locations that are a little more difficult to get to without a local guide. However, the above locations will not disappoint if the lights are out. Having a local guide can significantly help your odds of catching those perfect aurora pictures and locations. Please note, if you are not used to driving on the slick, icy roads any of these locations could be hazardous to drive to, especially at night. You also always want to keep a sharp eye out for moose as they are always on the road when you least expect them to be and can be fatal if hit. I suggest driving to the location you would like to view the Aurora from in daylight before going out at night. The team here at Williams Premier Tours is always here to help and answer any questions!
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