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Chasing Celestial Magic: A Guide to Northern Lights Adventures in the Upper Midwest

Northern lights

According to National Geographic, 2024 is supposed to be one of the best years for seeing the northern lights.

This enchanting phenomenon, exclusive to regions near the earth's poles, grants the upper midwest a privileged, front-row seat. States like Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin are the perfect place for stargazers seeking the chance to witness the aurora borealis.

When To See Them

This natural light display doesn't adhere to a fixed schedule, so it's crucial to understand the optimal conditions to enhance the likelihood of a sighting. You’ll want to venture out on nights with clear skies and minimal moonlight, particularly between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time. To stay informed about the appearance of the northern lights, keep an eye on the short-term aurora forecast from NOAA. Peak

How To See Them

Night Snowmobiling:

For thrill-seekers eager to combine the magic of the Northern Lights with the adrenaline rush of winter adventure, night snowmobiling becomes an exhilarating option. Picture yourself gliding through snow-covered landscapes, guided by the shimmering celestial lights above. Local outfitters may offer guided snowmobiling tours designed to showcase the best spots for Northern Lights viewing, or you can set out on your own. Here are just a few of the Midwest dark sky locations where you can try to catch a glimpse of the aurora.

Snowshoeing Under the Starlit Sky:

For those who prefer a quieter experience, snowshoeing presents a serene way to witness the Northern Lights. Strap on your snowshoes and venture into snow-covered landscapes where the night is illuminated by the celestial display. The hushed crunch of snow beneath your feet enhances the tranquility of the moment, allowing you to fully absorb the beauty of the dancing lights above.

Tips for a Northern Lights Adventure:

1. Choose the Right Location: Seek out locations away from city lights to enjoy an unobstructed view of the Northern Lights. National parks, remote trails, and open fields are ideal spots.

2. Monitor Aurora Forecasts: Stay updated on aurora forecasts through reliable websites or apps like NOAA. Planning your Northern Lights adventure around peak activity increases your chances of witnessing the full brilliance of the display.

3. Dress for the Cold and Bundle up: Chasing the northern lights can require a bit of patience, so embrace the chill with layered clothing, insulated boots, and thermal accessories. Staying warm ensures you can fully appreciate the magic of the Northern Lights without distraction.

4. Safety First: Whether snowmobiling or snowshoeing, prioritize safety. Check your equipment, follow guidelines, and consider joining guided tours led by experienced professionals.

5. Rent Equipment from Trusted Outfitters: Recreogo partners with numerous reputable local outfitters. Using our marketplace, you can search for rentals in your area and be confident that you’re renting from a trusted outfitter. For aurora-chasing, look for rentals in Northern Minnesota, Northern Wisconsin, and Michigan’s UP. You’ll find several of our partners renting snowmobiles and snowshoes.

aurora borealis

In the heart of winter, the Upper Midwest becomes a sanctuary for those seeking the celestial wonders of the Northern Lights. Whether you opt for the thrill of night snowmobiling or the serenity of snowshoeing, the dance of the aurora borealis promises an enchanting and unforgettable experience. So, get ready to bundle up and venture into the cold to witness nature's most mesmerizing light show. The Northern Lights await, ready to illuminate your winter nights with their celestial brilliance.

Have you seen the northern lights? Share your experience with us below!


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