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Can You See Northern Lights in Colorado Tonight?

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Can You See Northern Lights in Colorado Tonight?

If you are living in or visiting Colorado, one question that comes to mind is whether you can view northern lights tonight. The northern lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, are a natural phenomenon that take place when charged particles collide with atoms in the earth’s atmosphere.

While you might think that northern lights can only be seen in places such as Alaska, Canada, or Scandinavia, in reality, it is possible to see these lights in Colorado as well. However, there are certain factors that can make viewing the lights more difficult in Colorado, and in this post, we will discuss those factors in more detail.

Factors for Viewing Northern Lights in Colorado

Here are some of the significant factors that can affect your chances of seeing northern lights in Colorado:

Geomagnetic Storms

To see northern lights in Colorado, the region must experience a geomagnetic storm. These storms occur when particles emitted by the sun collide with the earth’s magnetic field. These storms are graded on a scale of 1-9, where G1 is the least severe, and G5 is the most severe. To see auroras in Colorado, at least a G2 storm is required.


Colorado is situated at a lower latitude than some of the other standard northern lights viewing locations such as Norway, Sweden, or Finland. At a high latitude, the earth’s magnetic field is more active, and hence there are more chances of seeing northern lights. However, that does not mean that it is impossible to see auroras in Colorado, but the chances are lower than at higher latitudes.

Weather Conditions

Another factor to consider is the weather when you plan to see the northern lights in Colorado. Cloudy skies, precipitation, or foggy weather can reduce or block the view of the auroras. Therefore, it is essential to check the weather forecast and aim for a clear sky to increase your chances of seeing the northern lights more clearly.

Best Time to View Northern Lights in Colorado

While you can technically view the northern lights in Colorado during any month of the year, the best months to see auroras in this state are from September to April. The nights are longer during these months, which means more darkness to observe the northern lights.

The intensity and frequency of the northern lights also vary according to the solar cycle, which is a period of approximately 11 years when the sun’s magnetic fields switch their polarity. The current solar cycle, Solar Cycle 25, began in December 2019 and is expected to peak in 2025. During peak activity of the solar cycle, the frequency and intensity of northern lights increase, making it easier to see these lights in Colorado.

Best Places in Colorado to View Northern Lights

Here are some of the best places to view the northern lights in Colorado:

Rabbit Ears Pass

Rabbit Ears Pass is northwest of Denver and is situated at an altitude of over 9,300 feet. The location’s elevation and clear skies make it a great spot to view the northern lights.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park is situated in the San Luis Valley and is a designated dark-sky park. Since there is very little light pollution in the area, it becomes an excellent spot to view northern lights.

Skyway Trail

The Skyway Trail is located near Durango, Colorado, and is a perfect spot to view the northern lights. It offers an expansive view of the sky, making it easier to spot auroras.


In conclusion, seeing northern lights in Colorado is possible, but not guaranteed. Several factors, such as geomagnetic storms, latitude, and weather conditions, impact your chances of observing these lights. However, if you plan your trip during the best months, September to April, and in locations such as Rabbit Ears Pass, Great Sand Dunes National Park, or Skyway Trail, your chances of seeing the northern lights in Colorado significantly increases.

Always remember to check the weather forecast, aurora forecast, and plan accordingly before embarking on a trip to view the northern lights in Colorado. Even if the northern lights are not visible during your planned trip, these locations offer stunning landscapes and starry skies that are an unmissable experience for anyone interested in stargazing or astrophotography.

An Insider’s Guide to the Hidden Gems of Colorado

When most people think of Colorado, they envision skiers and snowboarders hitting the slopes, but there’s more to this state than just its renowned winter sports. Beyond the well-known areas, there are hidden gems that only locals are aware of and will provide you with an unforgettable experience during your stay.

Local Attractions

While Colorado has several iconic tourist spots, such as the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak, there are several hidden locations worth exploring. To experience the state’s natural marvels, make a trip to Rifle Falls State Park. Its cascading waterfall system is a sight to behold and will leave you mesmerized. Another spot to visit is the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve. It is home to the tallest sand dunes in North America and provides a one-of-a-kind adventure.

If you’re interested in history and architecture, make a visit to the Littleton Historical Museum. It’s an intricately designed museum featuring an array of historical buildings and artifacts that give a glimpse into Colorado’s past. For art enthusiasts, the Museum of Outdoor Arts is a must-visit location. It showcases a variety of art installations and sculptures in an open-air display.

Dining Spots

Colorado is known for its robust food scene, with plenty of local delicacies to indulge in. Instead of the usual offerings, head to The Sink in Boulder, a historic restaurant that has been serving up specialty pizzas and burgers since 1923. If you’re in the mood for some Mexican cuisine, Rio Grande is your go-to spot. Try their house-made margaritas along with their famous fajitas.

For a unique experience, make a visit to Casa Bonita. It’s not your typical restaurant but rather a themed attraction of sorts. With waterfall displays, cliff divers, and live shows, you’ll find more than just a place to eat.

Cultural Experiences

Colorado’s western history is difficult to ignore, and you’ll find several museums dedicated to preserving it. Two of the best are the Buffalo Bill Museum in Golden and the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden. Both provide insights into the state’s rail and cowboy history.

For music enthusiasts, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater is an absolute must-visit. You’ll find several live concerts within the stunning backdrop of the red rocks.

Local History

One of the most intriguing stories of Colorado’s history is the legend of Doc Holliday. Make a trip to Glenwood Springs to learn more about this master gambler, gunfighter, and dentist who tangled with the likes of Wyatt Earp.

Another story worth exploring is the tale of Alfred Packer, the “Colorado Cannibal.” He was accused of cannibalizing his traveling companions at a campsite in 1874.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Suggestions

For a unique experience, visit the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory. It offers tours of its factory and allows visitors to taste and buy tea variations.

If you’re traveling during winters, make a visit to the Ice Castles. It’s a winter wonderland of ice formations and features tunnels, arches and dozens of sculpted ice towers.

In conclusion, Colorado offers much more than conventional travel spots, and there’s always a surprise waiting around the corner. With its diverse offerings of hidden gems and local favorites, it’s the perfect destination to plan your next trip.

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Can You See Northern Lights in Colorado Tonight?

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!