See the Northern Lights in the vast beauty of Northwest Canada

Join the Cloud Appreciation Society for a once-in-a-lifetime expedition to the remote Northwest Territories of Canada. Amongst the frozen lakes of this epic landscape, you will stay at an eco lodge that we consider the best destination in the world for experiencing the awe-inspiring beauty of the aurora borealis.

24 Feb to 1 March & 28 Feb to 5 March 2017 (Sold out)

A remote eco lodge, an untouched frozen lake in prime aurora territory

This epic landscape of ice-covered lakes and ancient pine forests is, in our opinion, the world’s best location for experiencing the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. A 20-minute flight by ski-plane from Yellowknife, capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories, Blachford Lake Lodge is located on a jewel of a lake set in the frozen splendour of the remote Canadian north. The spacious, handcrafted log lodge offers a blend of rustic charm and modern comfort. Visitors can stay in the eco lodge or, for a real feel of the wilderness, in one of the cosy trapper’s cabins, warmed by a wood-fire stove. Gourmet meals are prepared by the Red-Seal certified chef, and there are a whole range of fantastic winter activities included, from snowmobiling to cross-country skiing, ice skating on the frozen lake to ice fishing. The lodge includes an open dining area, bar and lounge, and even a hot tub outside under the stars.

This sky adventure is being hosted by Cloud Appreciation Society founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney. He will be giving inspirational, illustrated presentations about the sky, while the Lodge staff will introduce us to the Northern Lights and give help and instruction about photographing them.

Blachford Lake Lodge was one of the destinations on the 2011 royal tour of Canada. William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, visited not long after they married. The lodge is remote, rustic, eco and with all the creature comforts.



We believe Blachford Lake is the world’s best destination for experiencing the Northern Lights in the unspoilt winter wilderness.

A video taster of Blachford Lake Lodge, Northwest Territories, Canada.

The Northern Lights: A must-see for sky lovers

The swirling greens, pinks and yellows of the aurora are a sight that you will never forget. The colours are caused by the interaction of solar winds – streams of charged particles emitted by the Sun – with the molecules in the upper reaches of our atmosphere. The intensity of the displays depends on the sun-spot activity, which varies in cycles.

We at the Cloud Appreciation Society know more than most how impossible it is to make promises about what will happen in the sky on a particular weekend. But we have chosen the location of this amazing trip to maximise the chances of us witnessing a stunning display of the Northern Lights. Blachford Lake Lodge is remote enough to be away from artificial light pollution and the weekend we’ll be there is on a new moon, ensuring the background sky is as dark as can be. The lodge is right in the middle of the ‘aurora oval’, the ring around the geomagnetic pole within which the Northern Lights form directly overhead. We’ve chosen this time of year for the best combination of longer nights and less low cloud cover.

The great advantage about staying at Blachford Lake Lodge is that we don’t need  to travel to see the lights. When they show, they appear directly overhead. Use the viewing platform, step out onto the frozen lake or enjoy them from the warmth of the hot tub!

Dr Melanie Windridge: Our Aurora Expert will be on hand

We are delighted to announce that we will be joined on the trip by plasma physicist and author of Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights, Dr Melanie Windridge. Melanie will be giving us all an illustrated talk on the science of the aurora, and she will be available throughout to answer all the difficult questions that we can’t!

Our destination is perfectly situated in the Canadian wilderness, away from any light pollution and right beneath the ‘aurora oval’.

Yellowknife: Vibrant capital of the Northwest Territories

Before taking the ski plane out to Blachford Lake Lodge, we will explore Yellowknife, the capital city of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Located on the shores of the Great Slave Lake, this vibrant settlement was founded in the 1930s, during region’s gold rush era. The mining activities have now given way to the business of government of the Northwest Territories region, but the cabins and fish shacks of the Old Town still have a tangible gold-rush atmosphere. The friendly community is a mix of indigenous Inuit, Dene, and Métis peoples with a whole range of immigrants from Europe, North America and elsewhere.

Our visit to the town’s wonderful museum and the legislative assembly as well as tours of the Old Town and the infamous ‘ice road’ heading north over the frozen lakes, this part of our trip will be the perfect introduction to the rich culture and history of this unique region of the world.


We will enjoy the warm welcome and frontier spirit of Yellowknife, capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories.

The Itinerary

Day One – Arrival

Arrive in Yellowknife and Enjoy the Welcome

When you arrive at Yellowknife Airport, you will be transferred to the Explorer Hotel, your home for the first two nights.

You will receive your information and welcome packs including your exclusive CAS Canada 2017 embroidered patch commemorating our trip. Rest from your flight, but don’t forget to look up at the sky! Sometimes the aurora borealis can be seen from the city.

Overnight: The Explorer Hotel, Yellowknife.

The Explorer Hotel, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada

DAY TWO – Yellowknife

Explore the capital of the Northwest Territories

After a leisurely breakfast, you will be met by your host for a day of touring Yellowknife, the vibrant capital of the Northwest Territories. Located on the shores of Great Slave Lake the city boasts endless stunning arctic landscapes.

Your day will start with a tour of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. It will be a great introduction to this remarkable part of Canada and its pioneering consensus system of government. Next, we will head over to the Prince of Wales Heritage Centre, which is the North’s top museum. It showcases the art, culture, industry and history of the territory, with displays featuring everything from mooseskin boats to old-time bushplanes. Explore the museum before we enjoy lunch in their wonderful café.

After lunch, we will get a city tour of Yellowknife. From the ice road, to the characterful streets of the Old Town, where the pioneer spirit is alive and well, and taking in the views of Pilot’s Monument, we will explore it all, with time for some shopping for anyone who is interested.

In the evening we will gather at the hotel for a welcome drinks, where you will meet Cloud Appreciation Society founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, and our aurora expert Dr Melanie Windridge. Afterwards, we will be heading out to the city’s famous Bullocks Bistro for dinner.

Overnight: The Explorer Hotel, Yellowknife.

Yellowknife: the welcoming capital of the Northwest Territories sits beside the Great Slave Lake.

Day Three – Heading East

Take the Ski Plane across to the Frozen Wilderness

Throw open your curtains and take in that glorious, sparkling snowy vista! Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, and pack up your things – you’re heading east. You will be met in the lobby to be taken to the ski-plane base for the next part of your adventure. At approximately noon today, we depart for Blachford Lake Lodge, located in the true wilderness, 100km east of Yellowknife. Enjoy the breathtaking landscape as we soar over the frozen lakes, forests, and snowmobile trails below.

Upon arrival, you will meet the Lodge team, and enjoy a delicious hot lunch. You’ll get a tour of the facilities and have time to settle into your accommodation for the next three nights. Winter clothing rental from the Lodge is included in your package (own-filled parka, ski pants, lined winter boots, mitts and hat). Try out one of the hiking trails, peruse the northern library, or relax in the hot tub before an evening talk from the Lodge staff about the aurora borealis with advice about how best to photograph it. Spend the evening talking to guests and taking in any aurora displays in the vast night sky of these truly stunning surroundings.

Overnight: Blachford Lake Lodge.

The ski plane takes us the 100km from Yellowknife to Blatchford Lodge

Day Four – Blachford Lake

Skis, skates, snowshoes, igloos and the lights

This morning you’ll have a chance to enjoy the unspoilt wilderness around you. Go snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, or skating (guided or un-guided). Get to know the remote Canadian beauty of the frozen lakes.

This afternoon there will be an igloo building workshop for you to take part in. Ever wondered how difficult it is to build one of those ice houses? You’re about to find out!

After spending the day outside, head back to the lodge and enjoy a hearty home-cooked dinner and an illustrated Tour of Our Atmosphere talk by Cloud Appreciation Society founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney. Take a nap if you’d like, but don’t forget to to step outside to watch Mother Nature’s ultimate light show.

Overnight: Blachford Lake Lodge.

No light pollution and in prime aurora latitudes, Blatchford Lake Lodge is an ideal location for the Northern Lights.

Day Five – Snowmobiles

Snowmobiles, saunas and a celebration dinner

After breakfast, at your leisure, there’s another full day of activities in store. Why not try ice fishing this morning (in line with the Lodge’s barbless “catch & release” program)? Today is free for you to choose which of the different activities you would like to take part in.

Included in your package is a three-hour snowmobiling tour to Great Slave Lake. You’ll glide across ice and snow trails on a skidoo – the most common mode of winter transportation in the north.

Relax in the sauna or hot tub before we gather for the group celebration dinner. Take part in our Canadian Skies quiz – with prizes – and savour your last evening in an aurora-watcher’s paradise.

Overnight: Blachford Lake Lodge.

The group snowmobile adventure starts here.

Day Six – Back to Yellowknife

We Head Back West as the City’s Winter Festival Begins

You are free this morning to go for a last hike, skate, ski or snowshoe. Your flight departs the lodge at approximately 12:30pm for Yellowknife. From there, you’ll have time to connect to Edmonton, and your flight home. Or why not extend the trip for another night or two (not included in our package) since this will be the first day of the city’s famous Snowking Winter Festival, which takes place within an ice castle constructed out on the Great Slave Lake. Our partners for this trip, The Great Canadian Travel Company, can help book additional nights for you if you’d like to stay on.

Why not stay on in Yellowknife after our trip finishes? The Snowking Winter Festival, which takes place in an ice castle out on the Great Slave Lake, begins the day we arrive back.

Prices and Details

Accommodation in Rustic Trapper’s Cabin:

$3990.00 CAD

(Canadian Dollars) per person

Approx. £2420 GBP / $3045 USD / €2852 EUR, depending on the exchange rate at time of purchase.

Price includes all staff gratuities and Canadian taxes and everything listed in the ‘What’s Included’ section. Please note: there is a supplement of $500 CAD + 5% tax for single room occupancy and there is a supplement of 2% for credit card payments.

There are five rustic trapper’s cabins within 3-minutes walk from the Lodge. Heated by wood-burning stoves, these cosy cabins offer the true wilderness experience within easy reach of facilities.

Accommodation in the Lodge:

$4690.00 CAD

Sold Out

(Canadian Dollars) per person

Approx. £2845 GBP / $3579 USD / €3353 EUR, depending on the exchange rate at time of purchase.

Price includes all staff gratuities and Canadian taxes and everything listed in the ‘What’s Included’ section. Please note: there is a supplement of $500 CAD + 5% tax for single room occupancy and there is a supplement of 2% for credit card payments.

With access to shared shower and washrooms, lodge rooms are dressed with down duvets, and feature huge windows with expansive views.

What’s Included:

  2 nights’ accommodation Yellowknife

  3 nights’ accommodation Blachford Lake Lodge (cabin or lodge, depending on package)

  All meals in Yellowknife

  All meals and snacks at Blachford Lake Lodge

  Non-alcoholic beverages with group meals (but there is a licensed bar in the Lodge)

  Flights Yellowknife – Blachford – Yellowknife

  Cloud Appreciation Society talks at Blachford Lake Lodge

  Aurora introduction talk and photography advice

  Three-hour snowmobile tour to Great Slave Lake

  Special commemorative Cloud Appreciation Society embroidered patch to mark the trip

  Use of Blachford Lodge equipment: cross-country skis, snowshoes, ice fishing equipment, hiking trails, ice skates, etc.

  Yellowknife city tour

  Visit to the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre

  Visit to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories

  All group transfers in Yellowknife

  Spruce Salve making workshop

  Use of Blachford Lodge sauna and hot tub

  Use of all lodge facilities (lounge, bonfire pit, northern library, etc.)

  Winter clothing rental: down-filled parka, ski pants, lined winter boots, mitts and hat

  All gratuities for Lodge staff

  All Canadian Taxes

What’s Not Included:

  Flights between Yellowknife and your home city (but our agency partners, The Great Canadian Travel Company, can help arrange these for you when you make the booking)

  Aurora viewing tour in Yellowknife

  Additional snowmobile tours (Blachford Lake Lodge)

  Net fishing tour (Blachford Lake Lodge)

  Items of a personal nature

  Travel insurance


But we are currently planning more Cloud Appreciation Society Sky Holidays…