Saskatchewan Sky Gazing for Dummies

May 25, 2022

Few who live here would argue that our “Land of Living Skies” reputation isn’t well deserved.  We are so very lucky that you don’t have to live outside a major centre to experience amazing sunsets and cloud formations, but if you’ve never looked beyond that, you’re missing something even more spectacular.

Observatory at night with starry sky

I grew up here away from the city lights and I didn’t truly appreciate what happened above my head at night until I moved away and couldn’t see it anymore.  Now my kids will tell you that I miss no opportunity to drive them out of town in the middle of the night to stare up into space at northern lights, comets, meteor showers, or the latest lunar eclipse. 

Saskatchewan is blessed to have two official dark sky preserves that are well-worth the drive to get away from light pollution and take it all in.

Starry Night Sky

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park in southwest Saskatchewan is a true treat.  By day the family can take in the history of nearby National Historic site of Fort Walsh, enjoy a trail ride on horseback, or lounge by the pool.  By night they can experience and almost 180-degree blanket of stars from the highest point in Canada between the Rockies and Labrador.  On special nights, a star guide gives tours at the observatory within the park.  Camp or hotel it right on site at The Resort at Cypress Hills.

Also in the southwest, you’ll find the Milky Way in either of the two regions within Grasslands National Park. This one is more isolated than Cypress Hills if you are looking for that off the grid experience.  Hike through the endless badlands in the day.  Then trade that hotel for a night in a teepee or one of the park’s Otentik units and listen to the crickets and coyotes as you peruse the night sky.

Grasslands SK campground

As we hit the summer of 2022, public observatories across the province are also opening up to visitors again.  While you don’t need a telescope to appreciate many of our celestial events, it’s a whole new perspective to see planets close up with an experienced sky guide.  Plan to visit a local one near you for a more intimate exploration of the night sky that twinkles down at us.

And of course, in addition to what can be found in the south of the province, there’s nothing like seeing the Northern Lights north of Prince Albert on a clear night in the colder months.  No equipment required.

Northern Lights

So whenever or wherever you decide to travel, make sure you look up and share a photo or two for the rest of us to enjoy!

-Nova Alberts is a Marketing Manager with the Brand and Platform team at Directwest