Dark-Sky Preserves

Enjoy the celestial landscape in one of Parks Canada's 13 Dark-Sky Preserves, a welcome escape from glaring city lights. Learn about stars, the moon, galaxies and constellations during special programming and events throughout the year. Check out Grasslands National Park, the darkest Dark-Sky Preserve in all of Canada or Wood Buffalo National Park, the largest Dark-Sky Preserve in the world! Plan your trip today, and you could find yourself wishing upon a star!

So what exactly is a Dark Sky Preserve?

Dark-Sky Preserves are protected areas that make a special commitment to protect and preserve the night, reducing or eliminating light pollution in all forms.

Many plants, wildlife and insects rely on darkness to forage, breed and navigate so protecting the dark sky not only provides a magical experience for you, but it also protects ecosystems!

Parks Canada protects more dark skies than any other agency or jurisdiction in the world. In Canada, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada decides which protected areas can be known as Dark-Sky Preserves, Urban Star Parks, and Nocturnal Preserves.

Dark-Sky viewing tips

  • Check the weather before heading out.
  • Take along a star chart or download a star gazing app.
  • Bring a pair of binoculars or telescope.

Use responsible lighting practices

  • Use red cellophane over your flashlight. Red light is less obtrusive than traditional white light, and helps to retain your night vision.
  • Turn off lights when not in use.
  • Think better light, not more light.

Canada is home to some of the best dark-sky destinations in the world. Stay overnight under the stars to get the full experience.

Go camping in a Dark-Sky Preserve

Dark-Sky Preserve designated parks


Terra Nova National Park
Newfoundland and Labrador


Wood Buffalo National Park
Northwest Territories and Alberta

International Dark Sky Park

Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park in the United States are now recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) as an International Dark Sky Park. Through their commitment to protect and preserve these incredibly dark skies, the two parks together form the first trans-boundary IDA International Dark Sky Park.

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