Best Places In Canada To See The Northern Lights – Whether you’re planning a trip to see bears in Manitoba or visiting southeastern cities like Montreal and Toronto, Canada is a great place for cultural and outdoor experiences. It is also the most famous volcano in North America. With so many opportunities, you may be asking yourself: how and where can I watch the northern lights in Canada?
In this post, I have broken down some of the key things you need to know to see the northern lights in Canada. First, let me explain the wonders of the aurora – so you know what you’re looking at.
Best Places In Canada To See The Northern Lights
I also include details of the best months to travel if you want to have the best chance of seeing the northern lights. Then I highlight about 30 places to see the northern lights in every province and province in Canada so you can see them wherever you go. I also have some tips for viewing and photographing the aurora.
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Read on to learn everything you need to know about trying to spot the northern lights on your trip to Canada.
This post was published in May 2019 and was recently updated for the upcoming winter season in Sep 2022.
The northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, is an atmospheric phenomenon. Auroras form when particles from the Sun – sometimes called the solar wind – collide with Earth’s atmosphere. These particles cause atoms in our atmosphere to react, become excited, and release energy and light. This light is what we call the “northern lights” when they appear in the north. (When they occur in the Southern Hemisphere they are called the “southern lights” or aurora australis.)
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Now that you know the basics, it’s time to start planning a trip to see the northern lights in Canada. Read more!
Before booking tickets, it is important to understand when you can visit and view the Aurora Borealis in Canada. If you go at the wrong time of year, you might not see them at all! Here’s a quick overview of the different seasons in Canada and your chances of seeing the mountains at any given time.
Square kilometer, Canada is not a place where you can spend a weekend. Most of the northern lights in Canada are within an hour’s drive or flight. Furthermore, Canada is divided into ten provinces and three territories. Like the US, this means you should plan to visit 1-3 of these and you should focus your star tour planning on that area.
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Below, we’ve selected some of the most popular and best places to see the northern lights in Canada. However, there is plenty to do around every corner if you are planning a road trip to Canada. Use the points on the map below as a guide to plan your mountain bike trip in Canada.
Alberta is one of the best provinces in Canada to see the northern lights because the land is protected as a national park. It also makes them a great place to visit. Here are some great places.
Often overlooked for its beautiful and famous neighbor (Jasper National Reserve, described below), Elk Island is one of two cloud reserves in Alberta. Elk Island is closer to Edmonton than Jasper, making it another major stop on the Mountain Fire Tour that runs through the area.
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Not the Fort McMurray dark sky standard, but you’ll see lots of clouds here anyway! Located in eastern Alberta, this country is surrounded by natural beauty. Therefore, there is less light pollution once you get out of the city, and it is a good base for aurora tours in the area. In fact, the highway ends at the north end of town, so you’re as close to the development as possible!
Nicknamed Dark Sky Park, Jasper National Park is one of Canada’s most beautiful and increasingly popular tourist destinations. While there are many things to do in Jasper, one of the best activities is to enjoy the wonderful weather, which is perfect for viewing the northern lights!
Since Jasper is heavily covered in forest, you need to find an open spot to increase your chances of seeing the northern lights.
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Jasper National Park (and its capital, Jasper) hosts the Dark Sky Festival every October, where people from around the world come to gaze at the clouds, learn about astronomy, and listen to music.
Wood Buffalo, a national park in Alberta, is considered a major aurora center – but it’s far from anywhere. Depending on when you visit, you can head north over the Northwest Territories to reach the entrance to Wood Buffalo National Park — or fly because it’s so far away it looks so cloudy.
British Columbia is Canada’s most developed western territory, with Vancouver in its southwest corner. Despite this, there are many spots of stars in the dark sky in this region.
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Located just an hour outside of Vancouver, it’s surprising to see a black metal abode so close to a big city. In fact, McDonald Park is a favorite of the Fraser Valley astronomer community. Although it is rare to see the northern lights in southern Canada, it is possible if the wind is strong, making this your best bet for a dark spot near Vancouver.
Located in northern British Columbia (closer to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory than Vancouver to the south), Muncho Lake Provincial Park is a great stop if you’re taking a long trip through this part of the country. It is so far from any major city and so mountainous (about 59°N) that it has a better chance of seeing the northern lights here than further south in British Columbia.
Manitoba is well known for polar bears, Hudson Bay and mountain fires and winters. Where can you get all these things? There is only one place!
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Home to many of Canada’s polar bears, the arctic region of Churchill, Manitoba is a popular winter wildlife destination. Because it is in the north, it is one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights. You can combine your search for polar bears with your trip to see polar bears, or go mountain fire hunting.
Located in the eastern part of Canada on the North Atlantic coast, New Brunswick also has the opportunity to see the coast of Maine in the United States. Here are some of the top places to plan sightseeing in the area.
One of Canada’s Dark Sky Reserves, Couchibougac National Park is located in the heart of New Brunswick’s coast, away from the city lights of Fredericton and Moncton. It is protected from the sea by barrier islands, salt water and forests, making it a great place for outdoor activities and wildlife viewing. After dark, if the weather is nice, you can camp in the park to enjoy the stars and mountain lights above.
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Located inland, Carleton Provincial Park is another dark sky park that takes advantage of the open space in New Brunswick. You’ll want to plan ahead for several day and overnight trips to Mount Carleton, as there are great activities in the surrounding area. This helps ensure that there is almost no light pollution, which is clear enough to see the aurora!
Located in the eastern part of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador are two parts of the Canadian mainland (Labrador) and a large island in the North Atlantic (Newfoundland). Known for its archaeological and cultural heritage sites, you can also find pockets of clouds and good opportunities to spot the northern lights.
Located on the island’s east coast in the Labrador Sea, Battle Harbor is a 19th-century fishing village that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you visit. Aside from the modern beauty of cellular coverage or even power lines, Battle Harbor is home to some of Canada’s best cloud cover.
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This is helped by the lack of light pollution in Battle Harbor itself and its distance from other development or city lights. You’ll need to catch a boat to reach the port, and its unusual offering isn’t for everyone… but avid aurora chasers will find the sacrifice worth it if the sky is clear and the northern lights are visible.
It tops our list of the spookiest (and most difficult) places in Canada to see the northern lights. Located in northern Labrador on Canada’s east coast, Tornagate Mountain National Park can be reached by plane or boat, but once you’re there, you’ll need to take a hike to see the Mountain Lights dancing over the valleys and untouched mountains. Will be rewarded with a wonderful place. ,
Like the surrounding states, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island,
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