Visit The World's 5th Largest Island For One Of The Best Spots To See The Northern Lights

When your passion is exploring the planet, there's a good chance you have a few big-ticket items on your bucket list. Adventurers looking for an experience that leans towards the magical often add a northern lights viewing experience to the top of that list with good reason. Officially known as aurora borealis, the northern lights provide skywatchers with an atmospheric phenomenon to witness that's always one of a kind.

This spectacularly colorful display in the sky happens when solar particles interact with the Earth's atmosphere. The effect is the most dramatic near the Arctic in an area known as the Aurora Belt. This is where observers will want to set their sights for an incredible viewing experience and there's no better place to set up for the cosmic show than Baffin Island.

Located in northern Nunavut, Canada, Baffin Island proudly boasts the title of the country's largest island as well as the fifth-largest island on Earth. According to the World Population Review, Baffin Island is home to just over 13,000 year-round residents. The majority live in the capital of Iqaluit which leaves vast swatches of island terrain remote, wild, and free from light pollution of any kind. It's an ideal combination for those who are planning to keep their eyes on the skies and make the most of the northern lights experience during a visit.

View the lights strategically alongside local experts

When you're heading to Baffin Island to see the northern lights for yourself, picking the right time of year to travel is important. Winter typically offers up clear viewing opportunities with minimal cloud cover to worry about. As temperatures drop down to averages as low as -18.4 degrees Fahrenheit in February, the sky comes to life in vibrant colors. If you're not a fan of such drastic temperatures, spring has plenty of light activity and slightly warmer weather. The average temperature in May is around 17 degrees Fahrenheit. 

One of the best routes to enhancing your northern lights viewing experience on Baffin Island is to book a guided tour. Taking this approach means you can let the experts guide the way to the top area vantage points. You can also include other fascinating experiences to your itinerary during the day before the evening light show. The team at Arctic Kingdom offers travelers a nine-day, eight-night tented safari camp experience to enjoy. This is ideal for those who are interested in exploring island icebergs, observing polar bears in their natural habitats, and filling their nights with inspiring northern lights views.

Adventure Life has a four-day guided northern lights experience to consider too. Flying into Iqaluit from Ottawa, this multi-day adventure has you snowshoeing to your northern lights viewing destinations. Trips to places like Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park are included in the itinerary and designed to enhance your understanding of the unique and scenic surroundings.

Packing for frigid temps and enjoying local activities

No matter what type of northern lights tour you book, you'll be spending a significant amount of time outside, and packing for the occasion is a priority. A collection of thermals and thin layers to wear underneath a warm winter parka is a good idea for a tour of this type. Having plenty of hand and feet warmers to pair with your standard gloves and winter socks is a must. Waterproof shoes are essential for trekking through Baffin Island ice and snow while a quality pair of sunglasses will save your eyes from strain during the reflective daytime hours. Above all, make sure you have your camera and tripod ready for the light show at night.

The winter gear you pack will come in handy for the day adventures you enjoy before the nighttime light viewing session. Baffin Island is home to stunning fjords, Arctic lakes, and the Baffin Mountains which tower over the island's northeast shores. The opportunity to include fjord rock climbing, lake kayaking, or a mountain hike during your light-seeking adventure is one you won't want to miss.

Many travelers who make their way to Baffin Island to see the lights also look forward to Arctic wildlife-watching opportunities. On land, you might see everything from wolves and ringed seals to caribou, foxes, and polar bears. Harp seals, narwhals, and beluga whales occupy the frigid waters year-round giving those chasing the northern lights even more to enjoy.