Best time to travel to Montreal

Northern Lights in Montreal

The hunt for elusive aurora borealis starts north of Montreal

Northern Lights
Aurora borealis north of Montreal

Montreal is too far south, so you can't expect to see northern lights here on the regular basis. However, in case of a strong geomagnetic storm, it's possible to enjoy the sight of lights dancing in the sky even in Montreal. Northern lights appear as a result of the so-called solar wind colliding with the magnetic field of the Earth. The season with longer nights from October through March is considered to be the better time to go on an aurora borealis hunt, especially, the fall and spring months that are marked with increased geomagnetical activity. To know when and where to get a glimpse of Northern Lights, check the forecast of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Best places to see northern lights in Montreal

If you are caught by an aurora alert in Montreal, just try to get away from light pollution and tall buildings or trees. Autoroute Félix-Leclerc, going along St Lawrence River, north of Montreal, could be a good place to catch a few aurora reflections. If you have time to travel farther, head to Mont Mégantic National Park. Due to low light pollution, it's an excellent place for stargazing with the observatory sitting on top of Mégantic mountain. You can try some cross-country skiing and snowshoeing while waiting for the nightfall and once its dark, you can get a chance to appreciate the amazing spectacles in the skies. However, you will certainly increase your chances to see aurora borealis if you travel to northern Quebec. Specific locations are available here.

Practical info

When is the best time to see Northern Lights in Montreal?

From October through March is the best time to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights in Montreal. However, there is only a slight chance of witnessing this phenomenon in the area. The increased geomagnetic activity during the fall and spring seasons might offer a rare opportunity. In case of a powerful geomagnetic storm, the sky may light up with the beautiful display of Northern Lights. Show more

Where can I see the Northern Lights in Montreal?

No specific location in Montreal guarantees sightings of the Northern Lights. Despite it being too far south, you might still catch a glimpse if you keep track of aurora alerts and go to areas with low light pollution and open skies, like Autoroute Félix-Leclerc north of Montreal. However, to increase your odds of seeing the Northern Lights, it's better to travel to specific locations suggested on Show more

What is Northern Lights and why does it occur?

Northern Lights, aka aurora borealis, are natural light phenomena that occur in high latitude regions, near the Arctic and Antarctic. The Earth's magnetic field interacting with charged particles from the sun results in the phenomenon. As these particles enter the atmosphere, they collide with air molecules, creating the stunning display of light. The atmospheric gases' altitude and composition cause Northern Lights to appear in several colors. Show more

What are the places near Montreal to view the Northern Lights?

Fortunately, there are locations listed on that increase a chance of Northern Lights sightings near Montreal. Northern Quebec provides the best viewing locations. Mont Mégantic National Park is one such location featured that has low light pollution, which enhances stargazing and Northern Lights viewing. While waiting for nightfall, visitors can try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Finally, be prepared to see an incredible display of Northern Lights in the skies. Show more

What activities can I do while visiting Mont Mégantic National Park?

The possibilities for activities at Mont Mégantic National Park are endless. During summer, people typically go hiking, camping, or observing wildlife. In contrast, winter brings ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and other fun winter activities. As the night falls, visitors might be lucky enough to witness the phenomenal Northern Lights display at the park's observatory, which provides a perfect vantage point for stargazing. Show more

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen