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Northern Lights Tour Forecast: What You Need to Know

I want to join a northern lights tour, but what happens if the weather is bad or the aurora activity forecast is low? 

We hear you. Our team thinks about little else every day and night during the aurora season! After years of experience chasing the aurora borealis, we have developed a system to increase the success rate for eager viewers. 

We often hear from guests who try their own northern lights forecasting, and end up canceling their planned tour for fear of the aurora not showing up or losing the deposit. Please know that our first priority is serving you, our guests; in fact, one of our core values is “honest and fair in all our interactions”. We are professionals at forecasting aurora viewing conditions, and do our best to put every guest in the best possible location at the best possible time. If conditions look even a little bit less than favorable, everyone has a chance to opt-out.

Fairbanks northern lights tour happy guest

Here are three possible scenarios for guests during the “forecast call” from the Greatland Adventures office:  

The tour is confirmed

This means a 90% or greater probability of success exists. When conditions look favorable, we confirm a tour and give guests their pick up time during the forecast call. At that time we can also answer any questions and let you know the general plan for the night. Historically, on nights we confirm a tour we have a 90% success rate, but if the tour is unsuccessful at producing photographic evidence of the northern lights, a guest will be given a complimentary tour for any night up to 1 year from their departure date (subject to availability). 

The tour is canceled

A tour is canceled if there is less than a 10% probability of success. On nights with extreme cloud cover or severe weather, we will cancel the tour and issue a weather cancellation for a full refund. (Note these nights are rare.) 

Guest discretion

If we believe the possibility of aurora-viewing success is between 10-90%, we will openly and honestly discuss the conditions with each guest and help them make the decision to join or cancel for a full weather cancellation refund. If the tour is unsuccessful at producing photographic evidence of the northern lights, guests will be given a complimentary tour for any night up to 1 year from their departure date (subject to availability).  

Fairbanks northern lights tour happy guest at the cabin

Takeaway

  • The forecast call is typically made between 3 and 5 p.m. 
  • Guests have little risk of losing their money by booking in advance
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to book
  • We discourage self-forecasting and cancelation without consultation with the Greatland Adventures team
  • If a tour is unsuccessful at producing photographic evidence of the northern lights, we’ll give a complimentary tour for any night up to 1 year from your departure date. 

What our guests say about us

This was one of the highlights of our trip. Greatland is such an honest and exceptional tour company. When we didn’t see the Aurora on our first tour in Fairbanks, they rapidly rebooked us on a second tour out of Anchorage free of charge. Our guide Justin was kind and knowledgeable. He took us to an amazing spot to see the lights! The snacks and beverages included were an added bonus. Definitely would recommend booking with them if you want a company that backs up their promise to see the lights! – Ethan H on TripAdvisor
We took the Fairbanks Northern Lights tour. Amazing will be selling it short. Michael was our guide, and he did a great job of keeping us informed, explained the science behind Auroras in easy to understand terms, while also doing an excellent job of taking us to the most ideal spots to see the lights that night. He was very knowledgeable in understanding various factors like cloud cover, solar flare data and knowing the dark spots where light was less. – Hari Eswar S M on Google
Outstanding view of the Aurora Borealis. I’ve had this adventure on my bucket list for years. Greatland Adventures provided a nice warm lodge and a more fantastic display on the Northern Lights than I could have ever imagined. Their personal concern and care of the clients went far beyond my expectations. -Gerrold M on Google

Ready to chase the aurora with us?

Anchorage Northern Lights Tour

Duration
Full Day
Season
Winter, Spring, Fall
Departure Location
Anchorage

Journey to view and photograph the Aurora Borealis in the greater Anchorage area.

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Fairbanks Northern Lights Tour

Duration
Full Day
Season
Winter, Spring
Departure Location
Fairbanks

Join us and experience the magic of Aurora Borealis in the greater Fairbanks area.

Book This Adventure

Matanuska Glacier Summer Tour

Duration
Full Day
Season
Summer, Fall
Departure Location
Anchorage

Explore the amazing blue glacier ice of Matanuska Glacier. We generally spend two hours and walk three miles on the ice. Includes round-trip transportation from Anchorage.

Book This Adventure