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Northern Lights & Dark Skies Nature & Wildlife

Technically, the northern lights are what happens when electrical particles from the sun collide with gases in Earth’s atmosphere. But you don't need to know the why to appreciate the beauty. The astronomical greens, reds, purples and yellows of the aurora borealis are hypnotizing. • Only here: Alberta is home to some of the world’s largest dark sky preserves, including Wood Buffalo and Jasper national parks. That means there’s no artificial light around to obscure the extraterrestrial view. • Good to know: Your best shot to see the aurora borealis is September through mid-May. Visit for the Jasper Dark Sky festival in mid-October and, in addition to the view of the stars, you’ll get hands-on science and astronomy events. 

Grande Prairie | Brendan von Son

Dinosaur Provincial Park | Andy Best

Northern Light & Dark Sky Preserve Options

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Cypress Hills Provincial Park Dark-Sky Preserve

Elkwater, Alberta

Due to its high elevation and lack of urban light pollution, Cypress Hills was the first designated Dark-Sky Preserve in Alberta. Every August the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada holds a Summer Star Party that's considered one of the largest stargazing events in the country. The park also offers a variety of camping options, so cosy up by the campfire and gaze in wonder at the starlit sky. If the conditions are right, you may even see the Northern Lights.

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Jasper Dark-Sky Preserve

Jasper, Alberta

Due to its vast size and location, the 11,000-sq km Jasper National Park is considered the world's largest accessible Dark-Sky Preserve. It's also one of best places to stargaze in the Canadian Rockies. Every October the park holds a Dark-Sky Festival that includes both free and ticketed events and workshops. You can learn about the constellations, listen to indigenous songs and stories and even pick up some tips for photographing the spectacular starlit sky.

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Beaver Hills Dark-Sky Preserve

Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

This 300-sq km dark-sky preserve, just east of Edmonton, encompasses Elk Island National Park and neighbouring Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area. By reducing artificial light, the preserve increases the visibility of the night sky. Whether you stargaze around the campfire or attend the preserve's annual Star Party in September, you'll find that the night sky shines brighter in Beaver Hills.

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Tours

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Lens on Nature

Fort McMurray, Alberta

Lens on Nature’s mission is to enable our guests the opportunity to immerse themselves and experience the remote beauty, history and culture of Fort Chipewyan, one of Alberta’s most isolated and northern communities. We offer carefully created, professionally guided three day adventures which include travelling a 280 km (174 mi) road made entirely of snow and ice to Fort Chipewyan, dog sledding, ice fishing, snowshoeing, historical tours and a chance of seeing aurora borealis. With each trip, guests receive a collection of inspiring images in a professionally designed hard cover book that captures the sense of authenticity of their adventure.

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Rocky Mountain Adventure Bike Touring Company Ltd

Edmonton, Alberta

Have you ever wanted to ride an adventure motorcycle through the beautiful Canadian Rockies and not take the tourist highways? Rocky Mountain Adventure Bike Touring Company specializes in guiding riders along the interesting and adventurous paths less travelled, in a unique, all-inclusive package.

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Rocky Mountain Photo Adventures

Banff, Alberta
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Rocky Mountain Photo Adventures is a Banff based, locally operated business offering custom designed tours, workshops and seminars in Banff National Park and the Canadian Rocky Mountains. We are knowledgeable and super enthusiastic about developing your photography skills and enjoyment of our amazing scenery in this world-class travel photography destination. We are passionate about the wider photography community and actively engage in educational, environmental and wildlife events and projects, both independently and through partnerships. Rocky Mountain Photo Adventures is a proud sponsor of the iconic Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival.

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