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I.C.Y.M.I.: Your Guide to Catching the Dancing Northern Lights in Alberta this Winter Season

COOL WINTER GUIDE: Stories and information for all things winter in Alberta. If you love chasing the most beautiful sights on the planet, you’re in luck. Alberta is an amazing place to catch the dazzling northern lights and here’s where you can find them.
The Northern Lights stretching over the City of Edmonton. Chong Wei | Unsplash

Are you ready to witness a jaw-dropping, life-changing sight? We’ve got just the thing. The magical northern lights aren’t always easy to find, but Alberta is a good place to be if seeing those beauties happens to be on your bucket list. Also known as aurora borealis, the phenomenon is totally natural, though it sure doesn’t look it. When dark skies are flooded with vibrant, dancing lights, you can a front-row seat. Luckily, this province is one of the greatest places on earth for viewing the northern lights and we’ve got the scoop on when, where, and how to catch them.

When to See Them

typically, the northern lights are most commonly seen during the colder, darker months. That means between fall and spring. We’re in the height of the northern light season and you don’t want to miss them. Whether you identify as a night owl or a very early morning person, you’re most likely to feast your eyes in the wee hours of the morning. We’re talking 2 am. The key is darkness, so you want to get out there when the sky is the darkest and there is as little light pollution as possible. This means that more populated areas aren’t the best choice for you. So, where can you see them? Good question.

Where to See Them

As we said, leaving city limits is a good idea. Typically, Northern Alberta will be your best friend on the hunt for northern lights. That makes sense, right? You can also catch them in the Rockies, too, so don’t worry if you happen to be closer to the mountains than the prairies. Some good options for viewing in Alberta are Fort McMurray, Peace River, Jasper National Park, Elk Island National Park, Spray Lakes, Wood Buffalo National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park, and Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

This is just a small sample of all of the best northern lights destinations, so be sure to look in your region and see if there’s something even closer to you. Now that you know when and where, let’s talk about how.

How to See Them

Technology sure has come a long way. While you can rely on your odds and head to the right places at the right times, there are also some helpful resources you can lean on. Tools like Aurorawatch, Spaceweather, and Cleardarksky will help you out. They forecast the conditions and give you a clearer picture of exactly where to go and when. Don’t worry, there’s a ton of information out there to support you on the hunt for an unforgettable sighting.

Britanny Burr is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the 2022/23 Cool Winter Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.

This article was originally published on November 1, 2022.

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