FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
What Photo equipment do I have to bring? Will my phone or GoPro be good enough to capture the Aurora?
Modern phones are great and improved a lot in the last years but they still struggle in low light situations and at night. A photo app for night- or Aurora-photography is helpful. Bring at least a small phone-tripod to stabilize it.
Also GoPros improved greatly over the years – nevertheless they are still limited because of their small sensor.
Otherwise every camera which is able to shoot in manual mode (M) will work, though older models run often into problems at night.
If it turns out, that your camera is not working well, we have rental cameras here available – please see our rental page for that.
If you have these things, bring them:
– a spare battery for your camera because batteries go down quickly here in the cold;
– a tripod, to stabilize your camera;
– a wide angle lens to capture as much as possible from the night sky – the faster the better: which means that the starting aperture-value should be small – like 2.8 or smaller;
– a headlamp to see where you are walking in the dark. The ones with a red-light-mode are great because red light does not disturb your night vision;
Don’t bring any fancy camera covers to keep your camera warm: they all don’t work and will only make it more difficult to operate your camera in the dark.
Cameras are doing fine in the cold – it’s only the battery which is affected.
What’s the best time to see the Aurora?
The Aurora is created by particles coming from the sun, shooting through our atmosphere and reacting with the gas molecules in it. This happens all year around but in summer it gets nearly never dark in Alaska and so you can’t see the Northern Lights.
It gets dark enough from mid August till beginning of April here in Fairbanks.
Fall (August & September) has the advantage, that it is not so cold – maybe frost during the night but during the day it is really nice. You have more daylight for day activities, beautiful fall colors and pretty active wildlife.
Deep winter is really cold with very short days – but also really long nights to see the Aurora.
Spring from mid February on (till beginning of April) is beautiful up here: not so cold anymore but still winter-wonderland! Lot’s of sunshine and time for day activities like dog mushing or snowshoeing: the perfect time to experience winter in Alaska!
Don’t come in April and October – that is our „shoulder season“ with a mix of rain and snow, melting and freezing – not so nice for holidays…..
Do you live all in igloos?
Yes of course! But only in winter – in summer we just lay a bit on the moss to rest: nobody can sleep anyways with all the sunshine in summer here! 🙂
Are your tours handicapped accessible?
Unfortunately not for guests who need a wheelchair.
We are working on this but at the moment we are not so far with our remodeling and building projects.
My apologies for that!
What are your cancellation policies?
Cancellations by guests – fees are as follows:
– more than 30 days in advance – $20 fee.
– 29 to 8 days in advance – 50% of the deposited amount.
– 7 days or less in advance – no refund.
Cancellations by Aurora Bear :
There may be unavoidable situations that require us to cancel a tour such as injury, sickness, inclement weather, equipment failure, etc. Should this occur a full refund will be issued.
In case the weather is horrible on the day you booked like heavy rain or a snowstorm, we will try to postpone your tour to another evening in cooperation with you. Should this be not possible and we both agree that a tour makes no sense on that evening, we will refund the tour price.
Just clouds are no reason to postpone – we had it too often, that it cleared up and that we could see the Aurora. We will always give it a chance and try our best to make our guests happy.
Is the full moon disturbing the display of the Aurora? Shall I book my tour during new moon?
The moon moves from East to West through the South and the Aurora appears in general in the North so it is not really a problem. It might take away a bit of the contrast between the Aurora and the moon-lit brighter night sky. But the big advantage is, that the moon light beautifully illuminates the landscape which leads to much nicer pictures. But whenever you will come – we will show you how to create beautiful pictures no matter what!
Have a look at our gallery here – you will see a lot of pictures taken during full moon or even with the the full moon and the Aurora in one picture!
Are the mosquitoes bad during Aurora season?
No – they drink so much blood from the summer tourists that they are not hungry anymore in fall. In winter they all hibernate together with the grizzlies: no bears and no mosquitoes in winter!
How do I dress in winter so that I don’t die during a tour with you guys?
We appreciate your concern: it is really messy when in spring all these frozen tourist-bodies melt out of the snow and start thawing up… 🙂
So dress in layers: thin, soft wool like Merino is a great base layer and much better than cotton!
It is very dry here: the cold is dry and easily to stand and the snow is also very dry: you can’t build a snowman but therefore you won’t get wet boots! Down filled clothes work great to keep you warm in this climate! When you forgot something or didn’t bring enough: we have not many shops in town but an REI and several „workware“ shops where you find affordable cold weather gear which will work in this climate.
Really great to have are thin liner socks from silk or Merino wool under a pair of heavy wool socks.
Best thing for photographers to bring, are very thin liner gloves also from silk or Merino: with these you will be still able to adjust your camera without working with bare hands!
Do you guys have indoor plumbing?
Yes, we have! Even though we are off the grid we have an indoor bathroom.
But for the ones who want to have the full Alaskan experience: we have also a beautiful real outhouse with a barn-style door: you can open the upper part and enjoy the Aurora while sitting on the „throne“!
Is the transportation included in the tours?
Yes. The transportation is included in all tours: we pick up at all major hotels and B&Bs in the down town area. We got recently a lot of small new BnBs a bit out of town – please understand that we can’t pick up from every location. In case you are staying a bit „out in the woods“ we are happy to meet you at a central place and give you a ride from there.
If you decide to drive out by yourself – it is really easy to find – we will honor this with a refund of 25$ per party (not per every booked person!)
What else is included in all tours?
During all tours, warm and cold beverages are included.
There will be also some sweet and salty goodies and a hot vegetarian soup or sandwich to get warm again after being out for a while.
Feel free to bring anything else you want or need!
Do you have your own pet moose?
No – unfortunately not. We have a couple wild ones on our property and we have 4 beautiful dogs who love to have visitors to cuddle or go on a snowshoe walk.
Are your tours nice for little children?
It will be a long night for everybody since the peak of the Aurora is most of the time between 1:00am and 2:00am here in Alaska – there is no way to make this more kid-friendly unfortunately. But we are very happy to have you and your entire family here with us! Honestly: this is probably the best place where you can go for Aurora Viewing with little children in Fairbanks: you will be in our private home, we have a maximum of 6-8 guests per evening, the dogs are a great attraction for kids and there is enough space indoors for them to play, draw or have a nap and outside they will be on our property with no strangers around.
Tell me more about the dogs – are they friendly?
Our dogs are family, so they are constantly with us: on adventures but also on shopping trips to town and so they are also part of every tour. They love visitors and will be very happy and excited when you arrive: which will be probably pretty loud for the first minutes and if you bend down to them, they will probably try to give you a kiss… They are all well behaved and of course up to date with their vaccinations and deworming. They are fine with small kids and will guard them as if they would be part of the pack! They are also fine with other dogs but the experience showed that most service dogs can’t cope with our pack and then the whole evening is only about taking care of the dogs. So as much as we love other dogs, please do not bring your dog with you on a tour with us.
If you need more information about Fairbanks, accommodations or other tours and attractions – this is the page of our local tourism agency:
For a simple Aurora forecast have a look at:
For a good weather forecast for our location out here, check out:
A great source for a reliable weather forecast is NOAA:
General info about what temperatures to expect in which month in Alaska:
If you are looking for an amazing, once in a lifetime experience in a remote lodge in the middle of the wild Brooks Range, check out the place and website of our friend John:
for further questions:
(+1) 907 750 7572 or info@Aurora-Bear.com