Best time to travel to Montana

Northern Lights in Glacier National Park in Montana

The clear skies and pristine landscape of the national park provide a gorgeous setting for observing aurora borealis

Northern Lights in Glacier National Park
Northern Lights in Glacier National Park
Northern Lights in Glacier National Park
Aurora Arc on Lake McDonald

The northern lights above Glacier National Park is a quite rare event, but when the skies here get illuminated by a celestial light show, it's absolutely memorable. Anyone who has a chance to relish aurora borealis in Glacier gets instantly enthralled. Being an eyewitness to such a display of exceptional beauty isn't something that can be soon forgotten.

Best time to view northern lights

In Glacier National Park, you can observe polar lights at any time of the year. However, the longer nights of late fall, winter, and early spring offer the best chances to watch an unbelievable light show. The peak times are from around an hour before midnight to around an hour after. Cloudless and dark nights are the best.

Lake McDonald

Located just a couple of miles from the west entrance to Glacier National Park, Lake McDonald is a glacier-carved lake and a perfect site for viewing the northern lights. Being 10 mi (16 km) long and surrounded by high peaks, this lake is an awe-inspiring spot to watch the Northern Lights and their dancing reflections on the water. It is recommended to check out the aurora forecast for the best chance to see the ghostly glow.

Bowman and Kintla Lakes

There is no better place to see the northern lights than the northern part of the state. Bowman and Kintla lakes are an off-the-beaten-track destination for marveling at the dancing lights display. Both lakes are situated near the Polebridge community, deep in the North Fork region, Flathead County. From there, you can find access to the lakes along unsealed park roads.

Where to Stay

If you plan to spend some time in Glacier National Park, a piece of good advice will be to stay at Apgar Campground, the largest campground in this area, accommodating RV and tent campers. As for Bowman and Kintla Lakes, this area provides a beautiful backcountry camping to observe aurora borealis from your tent.

Practical info

When is the peak season to view the Northern Lights in Glacier National Park?

The Northern Lights are visible throughout the year in Glacier National Park, but the best time to watch them is from November to March. The perfect conditions for observing them are cloudless and dark nights. From midnight to the early hours of the morning is the best time to witness them in their full glory at this park. Show more

What are some of the best places for watching the Northern Lights in Glacier National Park?

Lake McDonald is a great location for witnessing the Northern Lights in Glacier National Park. This 10-mile-long lake near the western entrance of the park is encircled by high peaks, providing spectacular views of the illuminations reflecting on the water. In the North Fork District, Bowman and Kintla lakes are also appealing for witnessing the Northern Lights in the park as they are remote areas and offer off-the-beaten-track park experiences. Show more

Is it possible to see the Northern Lights all year round in Glacier National Park?

The Northern Lights can be observed throughout the year in Glacier National Park, but the chances to see them are greater from November to March. However, their appearance is unpredictable, and even in peak season, the aurora borealis may not appear. To stand a better chance of seeing them, be sure to refer to the aurora forecast and look for the likelihood of solar activity at the desired time of your venture. Show more

What is the best way to check the aurora forecast?

To get the latest updates on the aurora forecast, you can visit the Space Weather Prediction Center on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website. The aurora forecast information provided predicts the probability of seeing the Northern Lights, taking into account several factors such as weather conditions, time of the day, and solar activity. You can subscribe to alerts on some sites, which will inform you about the best chances of viewing them in your region. Show more

What are the recommended accommodation options for those who want to watch the Northern Lights in Glacier National Park?

Apart from the town of Whitefish, which has many lodging options nearby, Glacier National Park's Apgar Campground is the largest and serves well for both RV and tent hikers who want to stay within the park to view the Northern Lights. For those looking for a remote experience, Bowman and Kintla Lakes include backcountry camping as an ideal lodging option while admiring the Northern Lights while ensconced within your tent. Show more

Ask a question

Find hotels and airbnbs near Northern Lights in Glacier National Park (Map)

Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva