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Northern Lights & Dark Skies Nature & Wildlife

Imagine looking up and seeing a wisp of neon green uncurl slowly across the Canadian night sky. The apparition is soon joined by others and together they grow into a bright, pulsating chorus of multi-colored light, waving, melting away and then forming anew. The aurora borealis is one of the most surreal natural phenomena on earth. Optimal viewing is September through mid-May in northern Alberta and in dark skies around the province. Lucky us – we have the world's two largest dark-sky preserves: Wood Buffalo and Jasper national parks.
Hoodoos and Northern Lights near Drumheller
Hoodoos and Northern Lights near Drumheller
Dark sky in Jasper National Park
Dark sky in Jasper National Park

Northern Light & Dark Sky Preserve Options

Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve

Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

This 300 sq km (116 sq mi) dark sky preserve, just east of Edmonton, encompasses Elk Island National Park and neighboring 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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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 to be one of the largest stargazing events in the country. The park also offers a variety of camping options, so cozy 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 Planetarium

Jasper, Alberta
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Enter our state-of-the-art 35-seat domed theatre and tour the world’s largest accessible dark sky preserve with a live guide – rain-or-shine! PLUS outside, try our “Wild Nights” stargazing experience and get the chance to look through the largest telescope in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.We offer daily evening programs, special monthly programs and of course a great array of unique programs related to our Jasper Dark Sky Festival in October.

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Travel Offers

Out in the Wild - U-Drive

Escape to the dark sky preserve of Jasper for 2 tranquil nights. Wine or beer is chilled for your arrival. Experience Jasper's one-of-a kind Planetarium to stargaze your night away. Wake up to a fresh new day with a guided tour seeking out all of the park’s most iconic wildlife.

Expires 2016-10-10
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Stargazing Snowshoe Tours

Come to Kananaskis and be dazzled by a sky full of more stars than you can possibly fathom. Join our skilled interpreters on a starlit snowshoe through a frosty forest, enjoy hot chocolate in a mountain meadow and be awed by the incredible vastness of the milky-way before your eyes.

Expires 2017-03-24
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Wild Frontier Self-Drive

Explore your wild side! Package includes: 2 cozy sleeps at Astoria Hotel for 2 people, wine or beer upon arrival, thrilling whitewater rafting, enjoy stunning vistas while horseback riding and explore planets and galaxies at Jasper Planetarium while stargazing.

Expires 2016-10-10
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Tours

Bluesky Outfitting

McLennan, Alberta

Our hunting area in McLennan Alberta is indisputably one of the premier waterfowl hunting areas in North America! McLennan The Bird Capital of Canada is located on Kimiwan Lake. Recorded counts in excess of 26 000 migratory birds per day use Kimiwan Lake during migratory season. We are committed to managing our number of waterfowl hunters to ensure that hunters will have excellent duck and goose hunting throughout their stay. We are committed to a policy of 100% fair chase and stress principles and ethics above all else. Blue Sky Outfitting 1-780-324-2080

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Alberta Sky Aurora Tours

Fort McMurray, Alberta

Join Alberta Sky Aurora Tours in Fort McMurray for our signature Aurora Borealis tour to see the spectacular northern lights. The two- and three-night, all-inclusive tours, available in Fall, Winter and Spring, include accommodation, transfers to our private viewing site, two meals and professional photography tips.

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Adventure Borealis

Fort McMurray, Alberta

Adventure Borealis offers premier outdoor adventures in the heart of the oil sands. Our local Metis guides help ensure your memories of an outdoor experience in Fort McMurray will last a lifetime. Our years of outdoor experience and knowledge of the region will provide a safe and enjoyable experience.

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Events

Dark Sky Campfires

Edmonton, Alberta
2016-09-17 to 2016-09-17

Leave behind the city lights and visit Elk Island for an evening of night sky splendour! Located in the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve, Elk Island is the perfect place to gaze up in wonder at the stars. Join a Parks Canada interpreter around a campfire for an evening of storytelling as you savour a hot drink and the mystery of the prairie landscape at dusk. Search for stars or the Northern Lights while taking in the grandeur of the stretching universe. Discover all that you can see and do under dark skies! $19.16/person. Call to reserve your spot today!

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Jasper SkyTram Star Sessions

Jasper, Alberta
2016-10-01 to 2016-10-01

Blast off with astronomy experts from The Jasper Planetarium for a dining and stargazing experience atop the Jasper SkyTram. Your SkyTram flight will take you 1 km closer to the stars, where you can look through the most powerful telescopes in the Canadian Rockies, under the darkest skies in the Rockies. Join a guided tour of the Solar System, learning about planets, galaxies, and constellations, you might even see a meteor or the Northern Lights! You'll have a chance to attend a talk on Canada's dark skies or a workshop on photographing the night sky with your DSLR camera.

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