One of the Earth's natural wonders, the Northern Lights, cast a radiant bright green glow over the northern landscape for your viewing pleasure. Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, form when charged particles from the sun enter Earth's atmosphere and collide with earth's gaseous particles. The result is usually a bright green glow, but every so often viewers will get to see a bright red glow as a result of the particles colliding higher up in the atmosphere.
The Northern Lights most commonly appear between 60-75-degree Longitude, making the North Shore a hot spot for seeing the lights. Visitors on the North Shore can check the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center website for the daily Aurora forecast, to see if any clear nights, which provide the best viewing conditions, are on the horizon.
To increase your odds of seeing brighter lights, it helps to get out of town, as many cities are “polluted” by light, and the shield of street light can hide your view of the atmospheric lights. Look out your window, or hike to one of our favorite spots, which we have highlighted below, between 11-3 am on any given night, and you have the opportunity to see these magnificent lights.
White Sky Rock
Just outside of outside of Lutsen, White Sky Rock offers 360-degree views over Caribou Lake. At 1400 feet above sea level, you almost feel as if you are a part of the lights. To get to the rock overlook, it is a .15-mile hike and you gain about 230 feet of elevation. Be cautious when hiking here at night, but overall we rate this as a great spot to view the Northern Lights.
Little Stone Lake
Located 25 miles north of Two Harbors in Ault Township, Little Stone Lake offers Northern Light viewers the opportunity to steer clear of city lights and see the full effect of Aurora Borealis. Take County Hwy 2 north of out Two Harbors for about 25 miles and then take a left on Wales Rd into Ault Township. Drummond Road offers great views to the North / Northeast if you want to pull over on the side of the road and view the lights from the comfort of your car.
This Point in Grand Marais offers tremendous views during the day and an even better spot to view the Northern Lights at night. The east side of the point shields viewers from most of the “polluted” lights from downtown Grand Marais and provides a great spot to view the lights to the north over the abyss that is Lake Superior. For easy viewing, visitors are able to drive right up to the beach and park near the Coast Guard Station.
Well-known as a great spot to view migrating birds, this Duluth ridge offers magnificent views over the entirety of Duluth and Lake Superior, and is also a great spot to see the Northern Lights. Hawk Ridge is located on East Skyline Parkway on the northeastern side of Duluth, and features a tremendous overlook when viewers park to see the lights from their car.
For more on seeing the Northern Lights in Minnesota, go to MNNorthernLights