Best time to travel to Calgary

Northern Lights in Calgary 2024-2025

Aurora borealis can be captured in South Alberta

Best time: September–April

Northern Lights
Northern Lights
Northern Lights
Northern Lights
Sharkfin aurora, northeast of Calgary

Calgary, located in southern Alberta, is not as famous for its aurora displays as the northernmost parts of the province. However, you still have a solid chance to witness there, the beautiful natural phenomenon which is caused by the so-called "solar wind". Now, let's get into the details!

The best time to visit

If you want to go on an aurora-chasing adventure in Calgary, check the websites of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U.S. or the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which publish the most precise aurora forecasts. The best time to see the northern lights is from September to April. Spring and fall equinoxes are known to bring increased geomagnetical activity, hence your chances to see Northern Lights get bigger.

One of the best tools to capture elusive greens, purples, yellows, and reds is a digital SLR camera. The camera set on long exposure "sees" the lights better than a human eye.

Calgary Region

Nose Hill Park, northwest of Calgary, is the best place to chase the Northern Lights if you got caught by an aurora alert in the city. A huge park with natural landscape covers about 4.2 sq mi (11 sq.km), being the fourth-largest urban park in the country. It means that you can get away far enough from the light pollution of the big city and find a few really dark areas. The park also has plenty of open space where you can take a good look at the sky without trees or buildings hindering the view.

Horseshoe Canyon

If you have a chance to take a short trip north, drive to Horseshoe Canyon, which is located in 10 mi (17 km) west of Drumheller. It will take you about one and a half hours by car to get there from Calgary. The canyon, often called the Canadian Badlands offers stunning scenery during the day. And at night it boasts an open view of the northern sky. If you get lucky to catch the northern lights in such a place, it's going to leave lifetime of memories for sure.

Banff National Park

Banff National Park is one of the most spectacular places for chasing Northern Lights in Canada, and it's located just 77 mi (125 km) away from Calgary. Lake Minnewanka and Castle Junction have proven to be the right spots to see aurora borealis near Banff. Peyto Lake is located near the Icefields Parkway.

Vermilion Lakes, located in the Bow Valley, in just a short drive from Banff, is another good location. The green light that dances in the sky beautifully reflects in the lakes with Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain on the backdrop.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Calgary to see the Northern Lights?

It's best to plan your visit to Calgary between September to April. During the equinoxes, typically in spring and fall, there is an increased chance of geomagnetic activity that makes the phenomena more visible. Be sure to check the aurora forecast from the University of Alaska Fairbanks or NOAA websites. Show more

Where is the best place to see the Northern Lights in Calgary?

Nose Hill Park covering approximately 11 sq. km is the best location to observe the Northern Lights in Calgary since it escapes much of the city's light pollution. You may increase your chances of sighting the lights by traveling northward to iconic landmarks like the Horseshoe Canyon in the Canadian Badlands. Show more

What are some other locations near Calgary where I can see the Northern Lights?

Banff National Park is an ideal spot to observe Northern Lights because it's only 125 km away from Calgary. You can view the aurora borealis over the Lake Minnewanka, Castle Junction, and Peyto Lake. Another great site is the Vermilion Lakes, located in the Bow Valley, where the light's reflection on the water creates a spectacular view. Show more

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