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Experience Northern Lights in Calgary

Experience Northern Lights in Calgary

Hey there, aurora chasers! Dreaming of catching the Northern Lights in Calgary? While it’s true that Calgary is a bit further south than some of the more famous Northern Lights hotspots, don’t let that discourage you. 

There are still some lucky spots around the city where you can witness this mesmerizing light show. The trick is knowing where to go, like Nose Hill Park, Horseshoe Canyon, and if you’re really lucky, even Downtown Calgary!

So read on and let’s explore some of the spots that’ll give you the best shot at experiencing the magic of the Northern Lights.

Downtown Calgary

Directions

Downtown Calgary offers a unique urban setting for viewing the Northern Lights. Imagine the contrast of the city lights against the vibrant colors of the aurora dancing in the sky—it’s a sight that’ll leave you in awe.

Plus, being in the downtown area means you’re surrounded by the city’s energy and excitement as you take in the light show.

Another great thing about Downtown Calgary is the convenience factor. You don’t have to travel far or spend hours driving to remote locations to see the Northern Lights.

If you’re already in the downtown area, all you need to do is find a spot with a clear view of the sky, and you’re good to go. This makes it perfect for those spontaneous aurora chases when you get a last-minute alert about increased solar activity.

Local tip: Check out the rooftop patio at the Simmons Building in the East Village. It offers a fantastic view of the sky, and you’ll be surrounded by the city’s vibrant atmosphere while you wait for the Northern Lights to make an appearance.

Horseshoe Canyon

Directions

Located about an hour and a half from the city, Horseshoe Canyon offers a more natural, serene setting to experience the aurora borealis away from the city lights. Trust me, it’s worth the drive!

One of the best things about Horseshoe Canyon is its unique landscape. The canyon’s dramatic cliffs and badlands formations create a stunning backdrop for the Northern Lights, making it a photographer’s dream.

Imagine the contrast of the vibrant aurora colors against the rugged terrain—it’s a sight you won’t forget. Another great aspect of Horseshoe Canyon is its accessibility. 

While it’s far enough from Calgary to escape the city’s light pollution, it’s still close enough for a spontaneous aurora-chasing adventure. Plus, the canyon has plenty of parking and easy-to-navigate trails, so you can set up your viewing spot easily.

Local tip: Bring a blanket or folding chair to stay comfortable while you wait for the aurora, and don’t forget to pack some snacks and warm beverages to keep cozy under the stars.

Bebo Grove – Fish Creek Provincial Park

Directions

Fish Creek Provincial Park is another fantastic spot to catch the Northern Lights right in Calgary. Located in the southwest part of the city, Bebo Grove offers a more natural setting to experience the aurora borealis without having to venture too far from home.

While waiting for the Northern Lights to make their appearance, you can take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque pathways, listen to the soothing sounds of the nearby creek, or simply enjoy the fresh air and the beauty of your surroundings.

You’ll feel like you’ve escaped the city’s hustle and bustle, even though you’re still within Calgary’s limits. Of course, the Northern Lights are a bit of a fickle phenomenon, so it’s always a good idea to check the Aurora forecast before heading out.

Local tip: To make the most of your Northern Lights viewing experience, try visiting Bebo Grove on a clear, moonless night, as this will help minimize light pollution and maximize your chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis in all its glory.

​Nose Hill Park

Directions

Nose Hill Park in Calgary is one of the largest urban parks in North America and provides an incredible vantage point for watching the aurora borealis. Located right in the city, you won’t have to travel far to find the perfect Northern Lights viewing spot. 

There’s plenty of parking available, and it’s also accessible by public transit. So whether you’re a local or just visiting, you can enjoy the stunning beauty of the Northern Lights without any trouble.

While you’re at Nose Hill Park, don’t forget to check out all the other fun activities the park has to offer. With over 11 square kilometers of space, you’ll find tons of walking and biking trails to explore, as well as off-leash areas for your four-legged friends. 

And if you’re a nature enthusiast, you’ll love spotting the diverse wildlife that calls the park home, like deer, coyotes, and even the occasional owl.

Local tip: Don’t forget to pack some warm blankets and a thermos of hot cocoa to stay cozy while you wait for the lights to make their appearance!

Lake Minnewanka

Directions

Lake Minnewanka is an amazing spot not too far from Calgary to catch the Northern Lights! It’s just about an hour’s drive from the city, and this stunning lake is the perfect backdrop for watching the aurora borealis light up the sky.

Tucked away among the mountains with way less light pollution than the city, you’ll get a clear and unobstructed view of the night sky. 

The best thing about Lake Minnewanka is how easy it is to get there and the unique experience it offers for Northern Lights viewing.

Since it’s only an hour from Calgary, you won’t have to go too far to find the perfect spot. Plus, the peaceful setting of the lake adds a little extra magic to the whole experience, making it a memorable adventure for both locals and visitors.

While you’re at Lake Minnewanka, be sure to check out all the other fun stuff the area has to offer. During the day, you can hit the hiking trails, go on a scenic boat cruise, or even try your luck at fishing.

Local tip: Dress in layers and wear warm, comfortable clothing; the temperatures can drop quite a bit at night, especially near the lake!

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park

Directions

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park is definitely a place you should check out. It’s a beautiful park that’s just about 45 minutes away from the city, making it a convenient location for a quick getaway to witness the mesmerizing Aurora Borealis.

This park is not only an excellent location for Northern Lights viewing, but it also offers a serene and picturesque environment. The park is well-known for its series of small waterfalls, rolling hills, and stunning landscapes, providing a perfect backdrop for your Northern Lights experience. 

Plus, it’s far enough from the city lights, so you’ll have a better chance of seeing the sky’s natural light show without light pollution interfering.

Local tip: Try visiting during a weekday or a non-holiday weekend to avoid the crowds and have a more peaceful experience. 

​Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

Directions

Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park is located about 25 kilometers northwest of Calgary, which means it’s only about a 30-minute drive away. 

This makes it a convenient and accessible location for a night of stargazing and Northern Lights viewing, without having to venture too far from the city.

Once you arrive at the park, you’ll be surrounded by a vast expanse of rolling hills, grasslands, and picturesque landscapes. The park’s open spaces and minimal light pollution make it an ideal location for observing the night sky. 

Plus, while you’re waiting for the Northern Lights to make their appearance, you can also enjoy the beauty of the park itself, which is home to various wildlife species and native plants.

Local tip: Keep an eye on the aurora forecast and plan your visit to Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park accordingly to increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights in all their glory.

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