Join Walker Wellness Retreats on a unique experience to Alaska, where we will search for the Northern Lights for 6 nights/7 days.
After going on three trips to view the Northern Lights in Fairbanks, Alaska, and receiving feedback from many people on how it is a "bucket list" trip for them, we have decided to add this to our retreat schedule.
This retreat is not a typical retreat we offer. We usually like to stay at 5-star accommodations, but the accommodation is part of the experience on this retreat. While the lodge is basic in its accommodations, the location is one of the best in the world for viewing the Northern Lights.
Please note it is not guaranteed that you will see the Northern Lights. There is no way to predict if you will see them, but the location of the accommodations and the time we will be going gives you a strong chance. We have gone three times, and one of the times, we did not see the Northern Lights at all due to cloud coverage but still had a great time exploring the area and enjoying each other's company.
No refund will be provided if the lights are not seen due to the unpredictable nature of the lights.
Please note there are 3 different dates for this retreat when signing up.
January 3rd-9th, 2024
January 13th-19th, 2024
January 19th-25th, 2024
Welcome to the Aurora Borealis Lodge. We are located just 20 miles north of Fairbanks in the famed Cleary Summit area, known locally and internationally as one of the best places to view the Northern Lights in the world!
There are no restaurants or stores onsite, but we are just an easy 30 minutes drive north of downtown Fairbanks. We will be stopping at a grocery store and liquor store prior to arrival at the lodge.
We will be renting out all 4 rooms at the Cedar Lodge for our group only. The Cedar Lodge has two rooms on the first floor and two rooms on the second floor for a total of four rooms. Each room is approximately 400 sq. ft. and is set up like an efficiency condo with a kitchen and private bathroom. And since many ask, the views from both first & second-floor rooms are great! The Cedar Lodge offers four private rooms with north-facing windows with excellent views of the night sky. All rooms have their own private kitchen and private bathroom. The rooms are standard with no star rating, rather the lodge has a 4.8 rating on Google. Click here to learn more about the lodge.
The kitchen features a full-size oven/cooktop, apartment-size refrigerator (with freezer compartment), microwave, coffee maker (10-cup) with coffee filters, toaster oven, rice cooker, pots/pans, utensils, and cooking tools. Also supplied are coffee, tea, sugar/creamer packs, salt, pepper, cooking oil, and soy sauce.
The bathroom features hand-held showerheads, heated bidet toilet seats, soap/shampoo, towels, toilet paper, and a hairdryer.
Answers to questions about the aurora borealis that are often asked by guests at Aurora Borealis Lodge.
Q. What are my odds of seeing the aurora?
Two key factors determine if you’ll see the auroras or not. Weather & solar activity. We could have the biggest aurora of the year, but if it’s completely cloudy, you will not see it. Conversely, we could have a completely clear sky with brilliant stars, but if the aurora itself is not happening, then obviously, you won’t see it. That said, weather is usually the bigger determinant. From our location on Cleary Summit, there is about a 90% chance of seeing some form of aurora on a clear/partly clear night.
Q. Do I need to be on top of a mountain or hill to see the northern lights?
No. You basically want to be away from the city lights, in a location with a wide view of the sky. i.e., you don’t want to be in a densely wooded area because the tall trees will only give you a limited view of the sky. That is why being on top of a hill (like us or Murphy Dome), out by a lake (Chena Lakes, Olnes Pond, Tanana Lakes), or a field (Creamer’s Field, Dog Musher’s Hall) are popular.
Q. How far away are you from Fairbanks?
We are located 20 miles northeast of downtown Fairbanks, about a 30 minute drive. The Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) is on the west side of town, so it is 26 miles away (about a 40 minute drive).
Q. What is provided in the kitchen?
The kitchen features full size oven/cook top, apartment size refrigerator (with freezer compartment), microwave, coffee maker (10 cup) with coffee filters, toaster oven, rice cooker, pots/pans, utensils, cooking tools. Also supplied are coffee, tea, sugar/creamer packs, salt, pepper, cooking oil and soy sauce.
Q. What is provided in the bathroom?
The bathroom features hand held shower heads, heated bidet toilet seats, soap/shampoo, towels, toilet paper, and hair dryer.
Q. What to pack?
Please pack light. I know it is winter but there is limited space in the vehicles. Please pack warm winter boots and a down jacket. It will be very cold. Please pack plenty of layers. We will not be outside too much. We are able to go in to our rooms when cold from being outside to get a better view from the lights. Please pack flip flops and a swim suit for the hot springs. You can use the towel from your room so you dont have to rent one. Please bring 2 quarters if you wish to use the lockers at the hot springs. I would bring lotion as that is not provided and the cold can be hard on your skin.
The northern lights are one of the most mesmerizing and awe-inspiring natural phenomena in the world. Also known as the aurora borealis, these dancing waves of color and light pulsate through the skies in vibrant hues of green, yellow, blue, pink and violet, putting on a surreal show for spectators.
This dazzling spectacle in the sky is created by energized particles from the sun that reach speeds of up to 45 million mph as they crash into the Earth's upper atmosphere. Since the planet is protected by its magnetic field, the particles are then rechanneled toward the poles, interacting with the atmosphere in that process. It's this interaction of energy that creates the fluorescence, forming the aurora borealis.
The northern lights actually occur 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but you need to be at the right place at the right time to view them – preferably in what's known as the auroral zone. This location falls within an area that covers a radius of approximately 1,550 miles around the North Pole. The night will need to be clear, and it's best to view the aurora away from the light pollution of a city, ideally in a wilderness or dark sky location, if possible.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced aurora chaser, you'll appreciate Explore Fairbanks' real-time Aurora Tracker. This online reference shows up-to-the-minute information on the temperature, weather and likelihood of the best time to catch the northern lights in Fairbanks. Much of the data comes from one of the world's foremost aurora research centers, the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska–Fairbanks. To further assist in your search, you can also download the My Aurora Forecast & Alerts app on your smartphone.
How are the northern lights created?
The light show we see from the ground is caused by electrically charged particles from space entering the Earth’s upper atmosphere at a very high speed.
How will I know if the northern lights will appear?
Unfortunately, there is no 100% guarantee of spotting the northern lights. Being in the right place at the right time helps.
But there are forecasts available. The Kp Index is generally considered the most accurate – it’s much more reliable than the weather forecast. The forecast corresponds to the planetary magnetic index on a scale of one to nine, with one being very low activity and nine very high. The Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska has an excellent website, which allows you to view predicted activity in all auroral regions. You can also sign up for northern lights forecast email alerts that tell you when activity rises above four to five on the Kp scale.
Don’t go for the northern lights; go for the destination because you may not see them. When heading out to hunt for northern lights on your own, ensure you know which direction is north. The aurora is unpredictable and can be very short-lived. And when it is dim, it can look like a wispy gray or white cloud so it can also be easy to miss.
The aurora borealis appears in a spectrum of colors. Including white-gray. The unique colors of the northern lights are created by the Earth’s spectra of gases and the height in the atmosphere where the collision of particles from the sun and the Earth’s gases takes place. Our naked eye can most easily see the green-yellow part of the spectrum where the sun emits most of its light. Green is the most common color observed but the Northern Lights can also appear white-gray. And a cloudy night if you’ve never seen them before, you might not even be entirely sure of what you’re looking at.
So, what are the northern lights, exactly?
The northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, occur about 60 or 70 miles above the earth’s surface — about 10 times higher than a jet aircraft flies — and can extend hundreds of miles into space. Electrically charged particles traveling through the earth’s magnetosphere collide with gasses, creating energy in the form of light. The intensity of solar flares varies the intensity and extent of activity within the Auroral oval, the ring-like area above the geomagnetic north where auroral activity is concentrated. The most common color displayed is a brilliant yellow-green, but the aurora borealis can also produce red, blue, and purple patterns.
Amy Walker, MSW, LCSW, CCM, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Owner of Walker Wellness Retreats. Amy started Walker Wellness Retreats in 2016 due to her love for travel and helping others experience the world. When Amy is not leading international retreats, she works as an online mental health therapist. Amy is passionate about helping individuals and couples work through barriers and find new ways to communicate, connect, and thrive. In addition, Amy loves international travel, wine tasting, whale watching, and the outdoors. Amy works alongside her husband, Brian Walker, to run Walker Wellness Retreats.
To meet more of the Walker Wellness Retreats team, visit the About Us page on our website.
Questions about refunds or cancellations? Click here to view our payment and cancellation policy.
The deadline to book a domestic is 15 days before the retreat begins; however, some exceptions can be made based on availability. Email us at email@example.com to inquire about booking after the deadline has passed.
Double occupancy includes a private bedroom and private bathroom for 2 people. Each room offers two queen beds with north-facing windows for excellent views of the night sky. The room has its own private kitchen and private entrance.
Helpful hint: If you have two people who would like to share a room, select 2 Double Occupancy packages. If you are traveling alone but want to be paired with another solo traveler, select 1 Double Occupancy package.
Single occupancy includes a private bedroom and private bathroom for 1 people. Each room offers two queen beds with north-facing windows for excellent views of the night sky. The room has its own private kitchen and private entrance.
Helpful hint: If you are a solo traveler, please select this option. You will have your own private room and bathroom for just you.
Welcome to Fairbanks! Most flights arriving in Fairbanks are at night or early morning on the 14th. Either works fine and we will come greet you at the airport.
Amy Walker will be holding a WALKER WELLNESS RETREATS sign at the arrivals hall at the airport. Once we get your from the airport, you will be taken to your hotel in Fairbanks where you will check in to your room. There will be some food placed in your room to enjoy since you will be arriving late and no restaurants will be open.
Optional activity: Midnight drive to search for the northern lights for 2 hours outside of the city.