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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. 

Dinosaur Provincial Park | Andy Best

Fort McMurray

Northern Light & Dark Sky Preserve Options

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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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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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Travel Offers

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3-Day Northern Lights Excursion

Discover and photograph the dancing lights of Aurora Borealis on a 3-day tour that includes accommodation. An onsite professional photographer will help you learn to photograph the night sky. From $668 per person based on double occupancy.

Expires: 2018-02-08
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Aurora Viewing - 3 Nights

The aurora borealis is a breathtaking wonder with universal appeal. Northern Lights Outdoor Excursions provides visitors with the ideal way to make this the experience of a lifetime! The 4 Day / 3 Night package includes three aurora viewings.

Expires: 2018-04-03
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Aurora Viewing - 2 Nights

The aurora borealis is a breathtaking wonder with universal appeal. Northern Lights Outdoor Excursions provides visitors with the ideal way to make this the experience of a lifetime! The 3 Day / 2 Night package includes three aurora viewings.

Expires: 2018-04-03
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Tours

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SunDog Tour Co.

Jasper, Alberta
TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:

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Providing memorable sightseeing, activity and transportation services. From daily sightseeing excursions, to group tours, to airport shuttles, to coach touring and conference services, our staff of holiday planners specialize in making your time in the mountains unforgettable.

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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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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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Events

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Snowshoe & Stargaze

Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
2017-12-09 to 2017-12-09 MST | Show All Dates

Trek over snow and gaze into a star-filled sky. Following a short guided hike on snowshoes you'll enjoy snacks around a fire and learn about the night sky above. Register in advance and meet at the Astotin Lake Beach Parking Lot. Cost per person: $29.80.

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