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 an 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! 

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.
  • 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