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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.
Dark sky in Jasper National Park
Northern Lights over Athabasca River

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 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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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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Jasper Dark Sky Preserve

Jasper, Alberta

Due to it's vast size and location, the 11,000 sq km (4,247 mi) Jasper National Park is considered to be 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 aboriginal songs and stories and even pick up some tips for photographing the spectacular starlit sky.

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Travel Offers

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Full Moon Fondue Snowshoe Tour

Enjoy a beautiful snowshoe tour beneath a blanket of stars and lit by the moon. Then, return to the Village Centre to enjoy chocolate fondue by the fire. The perfect date night for outdoorsy couples! Valid on select dates only. Inquire about private tours.

Expires: 2017-03-11
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Sunshine Village Snowshoe and Fondue Tour

Sunshine’s historical snowshoe tour provides a unique Rocky Mountain experience through untouched powder deep into Sunshine Meadows a location renowned for beauty and immense Rocky Mountain surroundings. The experience culminates indoors at the Sunshine Mountain Lodge’s Chimney Corner Lounge and Wine Bar with a traditional Swiss-style cheese fondue.

Expires: 2017-04-30
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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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Tours

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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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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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Events

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No Greater Love

Morley, Alberta
2017-08-12 to 2017-08-13 MST

No Greater Love Music Festival is quickly establishing the reputation as being the ultimate faith festival experience. It’s all about unity and community. Thousands coming together at the foot of the majestic Canadian Rockies that is now being dubbed one of the most spectacular festival backdrops in North America. Hosted on the lands of the Stoney Nakoda Nation, recognized as 'Mother Nature’s Movie Set' where Hollywood blockbusters like The Revenant, Legends of The Fall and Shanghai Noon were filmed. It’s the perfect setting for a one-of-a-kind festival experience.

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