Northern Lights & Arctic Cultures
A Winter Adventure in the Canadian North — The Best Place on Earth to See the Aurora Borealis
In the same land that hosts the brief, brilliant summer of beluga whales and the polar bears of autumn comes an amazing phenomenon that illumines the dark winter skies. The ethereal northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, meaning “north wind of the dawn,” brighten the night sky in a mystical display of color. Churchill has one of the heaviest concentrations of aurora borealis activity in the world, making it a peerless destination for a northern lights tour. On this exciting Arctic adventure our days are filled with distinctly northern activities such as dog sledding, and our nights with the potential for the best aurora viewing on the planet.
- Experience the wonder of the northern lights from the comfort of heated aurora domes in one of the most aurora-active places on earth.
- Journey from southern prairie to subarctic tundra on the Hudson Bay Railway—there's no better way to sense the magnitude of the Canadian wild
- Discover the traditions of northern Native peoples on an array of winter activities in and around Churchill
You’ll Find No Better Way to Witness the Wonder of the Aurora
If you’re planning a trip to experience the aurora borealis—the ethereal northern lights—it only makes sense to go where this phenomenon is seen more often than anywhere else on earth. On our trip to Churchill, Manitoba, our mission is to see the lights, of course, but we also discover this historic town and tundra on Hudson Bay in an intimate manner—in a small group, with an expert guide to enlighten you on northern nature and culture. Check out the many features that make our northern lights tour so special!
- The Best Place — and the Best Time — to See the Northern Lights
While it’s possible to view the lights from other locations such as Alaska or Scandinavia, Churchill is the best place on earth to maximize your chance of seeing them at their most active and most vivid. It’s because Churchill is located directly beneath the Van Allen Belt, a layer of energy-charged particles that wraps the earth's polar regions. Originating in solar flares, these particles are carried by solar wind, becoming trapped in the earth’s magnetic field to create the phenomenon of the aurora.
- Churchill is the “Accessible Arctic”
While Churchill is technically subarctic, lying beneath the Arctic Circle, its geographic location at the edge of the frozen expanse of Hudson Bay gives it a distinctly arctic climate and feel. Yet unlike getting to the top of Norway or the interior of the Yukon to see the Northern Lights, Churchill is easy to reach via direct flight or rail from Winnipeg, the capital and main city of Manitoba.
- Arrive By Train or Plane, It’s Your Choice
We offer a choice of travel modes to Churchill on select departures: opt for a convenient flight or choose the “romance of the rails” on the Tundra Train. Reminiscent of travel in days gone by, the train offers a window onto three distinct worlds of nature as you journey north: the sprawling Canadian plains, the boreal forest and, finally, the subarctic tundra. You may even have a first chance to see the aurora’s glow outside the window of your private sleeper compartment. If you prefer the convenience of faster travel, choose the plane option. The inclusions once you reach Churchill are the same.
- An Exclusive Slate of Northern Adventures
Seeing the northern lights may be the top draw, but we’ve added a host of activities to give you a comprehensive Arctic adventure. From a classic northern rail journey to an exhilarating dog sled excursion, from local museums to cultural encounters with First Nations peoples whose presence in the region extends back centuries, you’ll gain wide-ranging insights into the Canadian Northland and its storied history and traditions. Through our more than 25 years of expedition travel to Churchill, we've built relationships that reveal cultural experiences that other travelers simply won't get, because they don't have our exclusive access.
- Private Access to Heated “Aurora Domes”
Part of understanding the North is experiencing its weather and climate. And nothing is more characteristically northern than standing beneath a clear winter sky and watching the artistry of the aurora borealis as it lights up the dark night in a tableau of color. It can be frigid in Churchill in midwinter, however, so we offer another great way to see the lights: from the warmth of a Plexiglas-covered Aurora Dome, where you’ll witness the spectacular natural light show in complete comfort.
- See the Northern Lights with a Stellar Guide
While it's possible to travel on your own to Churchill to view the lights, there is no way to have the quality of experience you'll get with our outstanding guide by your side. Our professional Expedition Leader is an expert in Canada’s northern environs, offering in-depth interpretation of the region’s geology, biology, history, cultures, and, of course, the aurora borealis. We take pride in hiring the best naturalist guides in the industry—our NHA Expedition Leaders average 15 years’ guiding experience, and with additional training and resources provided by WWF’s top scientists, your trip is sure to be a learning adventure. See Expedition Leader bios with traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
- No Need to Buy Heavy Parka and Boots — We Provide Them
Don’t worry about shelling out for a heavy parka, cumbersome Arctic-weather boots and insulated gloves you may only wear once—we supply this cold-weather gear for your time in Churchill.
- Our Quality Guarantee Ensures Your Outstanding Arctic Adventure
Natural Habitat Adventures offers you our exclusive guarantee that clearly states that we will meet the high expectations we set forth in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise.
- Feel Good About the Way You Travel
We all care about the planet, and you can travel with us knowing that the emissions from your trip are 100 percent carbon-offset. Natural Habitat Adventures is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company, a feature that is especially critical when considering that polar bears are under substantial threat from our planet’s warming temperatures.
- Natural Habitat Adventures Is World Wildlife Fund’s Travel Partner
Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel, as well as the exceptional quality of our small-group nature adventures, World Wildlife Fund, the world’s leading environmental conservation organization, has named Natural Habitat its worldwide travel partner — a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!
Longitude Books has created a custom comprehensive listing of Wildlife of Churchill travel books
for this trip.