Dark sky experiences

Elk Island National Park

Join fellow night sky enthusiasts at Astotin Lake after dark! Elk Island National Park is a member of the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve and is a perfect place to experience the stars and planets above. Because the earth is constantly rotating, the night sky changes throughout the year.

Gateway to the Stars

Thank you to everyone who participated in Gateway to the Stars! The program is now sold out for this season. Check back at the end of summer 2024 for more opportunities to attend next year!

Snowshoe and Stargaze

Dates: Saturdays || December 9, 16, 23, 30 || January 6, 13, 20, 27 || February 3, 10, 17
Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Cost: See prices, plus valid park pass

Program fees include a snowshoe rental fee. If snowshoes are not used, pricing will be adjusted. A staff member will assist to ensure fees are administered correctly. Staff may contact you up to one week after the program date to assist you with a reduced fee.

Register: Call 780-992-2965 or email interp.elkisland@pc.gc.ca; beginning November 21
Registration is required. Registrations are managed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please contact us on one of those days, send an email, or leave a message and we will get back to you on the next booking day.

Program Information:

Come take part in two unique experiences at Elk Island National Park: snowshoeing and stargazing! A short guided snowshoe hike around the shore of Astotin Lake takes you atop the snow like a snowshoe hare while stars twinkle overhead. With a park interpreter and Orion as your guide, settle in next to a campfire and gaze up into a sky full of stars and learn to navigate the night sky of the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve. Without the glow of city lights you’ll see more than you knew existed!


  • Parks Canada interpretative program
  • Use of snowshoes during the program
  • Use of a red headlamp during the program

What to bring:

  • Snow/ski pants
  • Appropriate winter clothing; be prepared for two hours outside in evening conditions

Is this program right for you?

The Shoreline Trail hike to Beaver Bay is a 3km (return) hike on relatively flat terrain (approximately 11 meters of elevation gain along the portion of trail we will be snowshoeing). You don’t need to be an experienced hiker as this trail is rated as easy, but please consider that you will be wearing snowshoes and be hiking outside in the cold for the entirety of the program. If you have any physical or mental disabilities that may impact your hiking ability, please inform us upon booking, or inform your hiking guide before you begin the hike.


  • This program is not recommended for children under the age of 12 due to the technical ability required to snowshoe, and the nature of the content delivered.
  • Children and youth up to 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult
  • No pets

We want you to enjoy your day! If you are unsure if this hike is right for you, please call us to discuss at 780-992-2965 or email us at interp.elkisland@pc.gc.ca

Note: Programs may be rescheduled or cancelled due to extreme weather conditions. Please ensure that the contact information given upon registration is accurate. You will be notified of cancelled or rescheduled programs. Refunds will not be issued if programs run.

No Snow and Stargaze

No snow? No problem! If there is no snow, the "Snowshoe and Stargaze" program will go ahead as a guided night hike with the same stargazing opportunities and stories shared, minus the snowshoes.

Cost: See prices, plus valid park pass. Program fees have been adjusted to remove the snowshoe rental fee.

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