Fall can be one of the best times of year to view the Aurora Borealis in the Northwest Territories. Late August to early October has nights of darkness which are still warm enough to venture outside with a light jacket. Capturing the reflection of the Aurora in lakes is a particular pleasure for photographers. This itinerary will introduce you to the beautiful city of Yellowknife and all the activities it has to offer in one of the busiest seasons, fall Aurora season.
Arrive in Yellowknife
Welcome to the Northwest Territories! Set in the wondrous natural surroundings of Great Slave Lake, Yellowknife is a remarkably modern city. It's a city where you can experience authentic nature and traditional culture without foregoing urban amenities. Whether you are exploring the backroads, watching the Aurora Borealis dance, fishing on the legendary Great Slave Lake or watching the skillful cutting of a brilliant northern diamond, we know you'll enjoy the character of the city and feel the warmth of northern hospitality.
Aurora Viewing From Traditional Tipi
The Northwest Territories offers the best Aurora viewing opportunities in the world. There are a number of ways to view the Aurora.
Tonight we suggest you relax on the edge of a lake beside a tipi or walk up to the hilltop viewing platform onsite. Pick the perfect angle to watch the lights dance across the sky. The Aurora is a natural light show caused by a blend of oxygen, nitrogen, solar wind, and magnetic fields producing 10 million megawatts of luminescent power. Beyond the science, there have been different legends handed down over the centuries. Indigenous people speak of helpful spirit guides, while in the Middle Ages it was believed to be a sign from God. Gaze up at the radiant glow and you will feel like you can reach out and touch its beautiful charge.
Take a city-wide tour to see all the iconic sites including: Pilots' Monument, the mine heritage centre, the unique Legislative Assembly and the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre Museum. A town tour is a great way to begin a trip to Yellowknife, as it will give you a great overview of the layout, services and amenities you will find here.
Cameron Falls Hiking Tour
Spend the afternoon hiking in the boreal landscape. You will take a 45-minute drive down the Ingraham trail to the beautiful Cameron Falls, where you will enjoy a 20-minute hike to the falls. The landscape is unique and the falls are impressive.
Aurora From the Skydeck
For a second Aurora viewing experience, head to a rooftop viewing deck at a location about 20 minutes from Yellowknife. The entire roof of the building is a viewing deck where you can set up your tripod to photograph the Aurora, or just relax and enjoy the spectacle as it swirls across the sky. While you are waiting for the "show" relax in the station's lounge and enjoy a warm or cold drink and snack.
We suggest a relaxed morning program because Aurora viewing can keep you up into the wee hours. Enjoy a late breakfast or early lunch to start your day.
Voyageur Canoe Tour and Shore Lunch
Getting out on the water of Great Slave Lake in the early fall is a must-do experience.
On this tour, travel back in time along the scenic shores of Yellowknife Bay aboard a traditional 12-person canoe. Their superior stability paired with the exceptional skill of their guides provides an authentic canoeing experience with minimal prerequisite skill. This is a unique outdoor adventure which will give you an opportunity to not only enjoy a delicious lunch but also to experience some live local entertainment.
Aurora Hunting involves travelling from place to place in and around the community for an evening of Aurora viewing. Often the focus is on Aurora photography, and moving locations provides different landscape backdrops for the natural light show in the sky.
Enjoy excellent service and a small tour group for a personal, private and friendly experience. This Aurora tour will take you to a variety of places in and outside of the city to see the Aurora from different vantage points.
Art Gallery Tour
The Northwest Territories is a hub for authentic aboriginal arts and crafts. This guided tour will take you inside some of Yellowknife's most interesting galleries which feature locally made moccasins, carvings, jewellery, birch bark baskets and paintings. The tour will also introduce you to some of the local artists who produce the pieces.
Waterfront Aurora Viewing
Experience a Great Slave Lake boat tour, featuring the eclectic house boats and other sightseeing. Enjoy a delicious shore dinner at a wilderness outdoor adventure lodge on Great Slave Lake. View the fall Aurora and its reflection on Great Slave Lake. Enjoy the comfort of a lakeside cabin before heading back to the city.
Depart Yellowknife in the morning.