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How to see the Northern Lights in the Porcupine Mountains

Keep your eyes to the skies: It’s one of the best times of the year to see the Northern Lights in the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County. While it’s hard to predict exactly when and where to see this celestial light show, if you’re lucky, you might catch this impressive sight on your next visit to Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula.

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, occur when particles ejected from the sun collide with Earth’s atmosphere, creating an impressive display of whirling greens, oranges, reds, and purples in the night sky.

Where can I see the Northern Lights?

Anywhere there’s an unobstructed view of the sky—along the shores of Lake Superior, natural clearings, treeless hills, or an empty field. In the Porcupine Mountains, you’ll find plenty of cottages and cabins along the lake that offer great views. The Northern Lights are rarely seen overhead, so you usually need to be able to see down to the horizon, and the southern shore of Lake Superior is the perfect place for that.

When can I see the Northern Lights?

In the Upper Peninsula, you’re most likely to see the northern lights between August and April, with April, October and November being the best times. Pick a clear, crisp night (and make sure that there’s no lake-effect snow in the forecast if you go in the winter months).

See more Northern Lights viewing tips from U.P. Travel here.

And even if the Northern Lights aren’t visible on your trip, the lack of light pollution in the Upper Peninsula means you’ll see a sky full of stars—you can even make out the edges of the Milky Way on a clear night.

Where can I stay in the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County?

Many of the region’s cabins, cottages, and other lodging properties sit on the shores of Lake Superior, offering you a front-row seat to a perspective Northern Lights display.

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Note: Please travel safely and responsibly when you are visiting the Porcupine Mountains and Ontonagon County. Some businesses and facilities may have modified hours or procedures; please contact them directly for information. See Michigan’s latest coronavirus orders here.

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