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 a provisional International Dark Sky Park.

Waterton and Glacier already share a boundary and three joint international designations: International Peace Park, Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site.

Now they are the first trans-boundary IDA International Dark Sky Park. This joint effort recognizes the incredibly dark skies found at the two parks and makes a commitment to protecting and preserving these high-quality conditions.

Dark Sky Park status means that the parks - and their communities - are reducing the amount of light that is sent up into the sky at night. This makes them a perfect place to stargaze!

Also, Parks Canada offers dark sky theatre programs and stargazing through telescopes at events, led by staff and volunteer astronomers.

Where to look

Check out these staff favourites for some great dark-sky viewing:

  • Cameron Bay - located at the south end of Evergreen Avenue, within walking distance of town.
  • Red Rock Parkway - stop at any one of the pullouts to see where the mountains meet the prairie and the sky (refer to our what's open page).
  • The Bison Paddock overlook - this spot, just before you leave the park on Highway 6, offers the chance to see the prairie sky in all its glory.

What can I see?

  • The Moon: craters and mountains on the surface can be easily seen with binoculars.
  • Planets: many of the planets are visible in the sky throughout the year. Be sure to look for Jupiter's moons - there are four.
  • Constellations: there are over 80 officially recognized constellations. Start by looking for the seven bright stars of the Big Dipper.
  • The Milky Way: our home galaxy, the Milky Way stretches across the sky like a vast river of stars and can be easily seen with the naked eye.

What to bring

Don't have a fancy telescope or an astronomy degree? Don't worry - a few basic items are all you need.

Night sky viewing kit:

  • Binoculars
  • A star chart and/or a planisphere
  • A red light for reading your chart (optional)
  • A blanket or sleeping bag
  • Warm jacket, hat and gloves
  • A sense of wonder!

Learn more

Dark Sky Places