Imagine sitting under a blanket of stars, after learning about the night sky all day, looking up to the aurora dancing, while being surrounded by an epic Canadian landscape; that’s the Jasper Dark Sky Festival.
The night sky is something truly special. It connects us all through observation, science and curiosity. For astro lovers of all kinds, the Jasper Dark Sky Festival is THE astro event of the year in Canada you won’t want to miss!
For nearly two weeks every October, Jasper Alberta comes alive with all kinds of cosmic themed events to enjoy.
The Jasper Dark Sky Festival is Canada’s astro event of the year because it brings together the beauty and science of the night sky at one of the worlds largest dark sky preserves, surrounded by some of the most iconic Canadian scenery.
Jasper’s Impressive Dark Skies
Jasper Dark Sky Preserve encompasses the entire Jasper National Park. It is the second largest dark sky preserve in the world and the largest accessible dark sky preserve, meaning there’s a town within the limits of the protected area. This small town is Jasper, Alberta and the host of the dark sky festival.
Nothing tops an iconic Canadian experience more than watching the northern lights dance. Watching the sky light up over the mountain landscape is magical. Another reason why the Jasper Dark Sky Festival is Canada’s Astro event of the year.
Jasper is located far enough north and close enough to the aurora oval to experience some breathtaking shows! This makes the dark sky festival a great time to take a chance to see the northern lights in the Canadian Rockies.
One of the best parts of the festival is that if the weather doesn’t cooperate for the northern lights or stargazing (which is what happened last time I attended the festival) there are still so many ways to observe, learn and be inspired by the universe throughout the day during the festival.
Bringing Together the Beauty and Science of the Night
The Jasper Dark Sky Festival brings together the beauty and science of the night for all ages by providing a wide range of ways to connect to the night for two weeks each October.
Every day is filled with astro themed activities, observing opportunities, talks, events and displays for all ages to enjoy. As it continues to expand every year, it’s an event that anyone who loves the night sky wouldn’t want to miss!
Jasper brings together some really incredible events to experience throughout the festival. Check the Jasper Dark Sky Festival website for daily schedules. Some of the highlights of the festival include:
- Symphony Under the Stars
- Planetarium Experience
- Dark sky treasure hunt geocaching
- Jasper Sky Tram Star Sessions
- Science for Breakfast Talks
- Helicopter Tours
- Telescope Experiences
- Astro Photography
- Keynote Discussions
- Drone Light Spectacle
- & so much more!
The length and variety of the festival mixed with its special location, makes this the best astro event in Canada!
Jasper’s Iconic Canadian Landscape
There are very few places in Canada that can top the epic views and rugged wilderness you can find in Jasper National Park.
Not only does the wide variety of astro activities draw people to the festival each year, but the impressive scenery within Jasper National Park is more than worth the trip on its own. The rugged Rocky Mountains tower over the valley of crystal clear fresh water, as the wildlife roam the breathtaking scenery.
Visiting Jasper at any time is truly special, but when the stars start to shine and the aurora dances, the true magic of the area can leave you speechless.
The Community of Jasper
The Jasper Dark Sky Festival takes place at multiple venues throughout the community during the two week duration. It really does take a community to pull off something this good!
Jasper holds that small town charm, humbly surrounded by breathtaking scenery. The community comes together in the spirit of the festival in ways that really make the dark sky festival a memorable experience. From the cosmic business decor to local dark sky drink and food specials, the entire town comes together for the festival.
The length of the festival along with the variety, and yearly changes, makes this event worth an annual trip. The weather, moon phase and aurora conditions are always changing so the views of the night are never the same, making each festival unique. For astro lovers of all kinds, the Jasper Dark Sky Festival is an adventure worth planning to attend each year.
This article is created in partnership with Tourism Jasper but as always, contains my own opinions and observations from personally attending the Jasper Dark Sky Festival.