The Dark Sky Highway | Crowsnest HWY 3
Do you love star-gazing? How about the peace and quiet of the outdoors? Then the Dark Sky Highway is definitely for you! BC Highway 3 has been known as the Dark Sky Highway for many years, as there are no major cities along this route, which in turn limits any light pollution at night. It’s the perfect Canadian road trip, including everything from the Rockies to hot springs to resort towns. During the night, you’ll notice the dark sky along the entire highway due to large protected areas of land with no light pollution, and during the day, it’s fun and adventure! To get you started, we’ve made a list of a few spots to explore the cosmos in.
Since there is limited light pollution in the area, the Dark Sky Highway is a star gazer’s dream. We’ve made a list of a few great spots in EC Manning Provincial Park to soak up the stars and the universe around you.
8km up Blackwell Peak Road. This is a winding mountain road, so please use caution.
Sub-alpine Meadows Parking Lot – 16km up Blackwell Peak Road. First 8km is paved, then it’s gravel.
Lightning Lakes – 4km up Gibson Pass Road. Viewing area is at the far end of the parking lot in the field by the lake.
Windy Joe field – Right in the middle of the cabin loop west of the resort. This is a very accessible spot, although there will also be more light here as it’s close to the resort.
Backcountry camping is a great way to not only experience the outdoors, but to study the cosmos through star gazing. Because you’re not around any cities or lights, the stars will be simply stunning; you’ll feel as though you can reach out and touch them. Here’s a few backcountry camping gems to get you started.
Lightning Lake Campground is Manning Park’s premier campground, set deep in the park. Overlooking the lake, it features 3 shower buildings, shared access to 2 beaches, and regular naturalist programs are held at the amphitheatre.
Hampton Campground is Manning Park’s second largest campground, and has the most spectacular views. Large, well-spaced sites make Hampton a private, and picturesque choice.
Lone Duck I & II are both group sites that have a shelter, picnic tables, a wood stove, toilets, and use of showers at Lightning Lake Campground. They’re both located 4km up Gibson Pass Road.
Manning Park Dark Sky – Astronomy Weekend
If you’re curious about the cosmos, or simply love star gazing, make sure you check out Manning Park’s second annual astronomy weekend, featuring workshops, speakers, and star gazing. This event will be spread over 2 weekends, October 18-20 & 25-27, and will feature 2 unique weekends of programs with star experts who will take you on a tour through the night sky in the beautiful alpine environment of Manning Park. For more information, visit http://manningpark.com/event/astronomy-weekend
The Dark Sky Highway is the perfect place to explore the universe, and we hope you get out there to star gaze because it is truly out of this world. Where’s your favorite place along the Dark Sky Highway to study the night sky? Visit darkskyhighway.ca to plan your trip…