Canada's Best National Parks for Stargazing Named in New Study

The study took into consideration factors like sky quality and light pollution.

banff national park
Lake Louise, Banff National Park | ferrantraite/E+/Getty Images
Lake Louise, Banff National Park | ferrantraite/E+/Getty Images

This winter, pack your sleeping bag, blankets, and telescopes and head up north. A new study just revealed the best Canadian national parks for stargazing, and if you're a space fan like us, you've already pulled out your maps to see which one is closest to you.

That Canada is an ideal country to look up and marvel at the sky is already a known fact. It is full of untouched, open space that is far away from city lights, and dark sky locations are numerous. Some spots, though, are better than others—and now we have a research-backed list of how they stack up.

Just in time for the best stargazing season of the year (winter has much clearer skies compared to the others!), OntarioCasinos just revealed the results of a recent study, which analyzed Canadian national parks and ranked them on how stargazing-friendly they are. To come up with the results, the team took into account a variety of crucial factors, including sky quality, artificial brightness, general brightness, Bortle scale (which measures the quality of the night sky in a specific location), and even Instagram popularity.

First on the list is Banff National Park, which took the prize for being the best spot in Canada for stargazing. Its numbers are almost perfect—the sky quality is excellent, and the brightness levels are very low, indicating a very low amount of light pollution. On the Bortle scale, the park gets a 2, which makes it a "typical truly dark site," an ideal location to enjoy the night sky's marvels, including the Milky Way. If you're based in the US, you can see where the nearest dark site is via this map before your next stargazing experience.

The silver medal went to Glacier National Park in British Columbia, while Jasper National Park came in third. According to study findings, Jasper National Park is the second largest dark sky preserve in the world, and it makes for optimal stargazing experiences. Compared to the overall winner, while these two national parks are also ideal for stargazing, they rank lower because of more artificial brightness, which is caused by light pollution.

Take a look at the top 10 national parks for stargazing in Canada below:

1. Banff National Park
2. Glacier National Park
3. Jasper National Park
4. Yoho National Park
5. Gros Morne National Park
6. Kejimkujik National Park
7. Grasslands National Park tied with Pukaskwa National Park
8. Kluane National Park and Reserve
9. Waterton Lakes National Park
10. Auyuittuq National Park

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in and stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTikTokTwitterFacebookPinterest, and YouTube.

Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. She will beg you not to put pineapple on pizza. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.