Canada has more Dark Sky Preserves than any other country, designated areas that promote astronomy and have been protected from any form of artificial light. Grasslands National Park is Canada’s darkest Dark Sky Preserve, with the highest rating on the Bortle Dark Sky scale, a nine level Richter-like measure for nocturnal brightness.
Length of Trip : Day trip or multi-day visit for camping/hiking
Cost : No park fees currently apply for day visits. Camping is $15.70 for a site with pit toilets. Tours are available from the interpretative centre for a nominal fee.
Best time to go : June to September
Wheelchair friendly : Yes
Family friendly : Yes
Where to eat : The villages of Val Marie and Mankota provide limited essential services such as restaurants, fuel, camping and accommodations near the West Block of the park. There’s also a restaurant in the village of Gwentworth close the East block.
Official Site : www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/sk/grasslands/index.aspx
Getting There : Grasslands National Park is located in southwestern Saskatchewan near the Saskatchewan-Montana border. The Park has two separate blocks. The West Block centres on the Frenchman River Valley and the East Block features the Killdeer Badlands of the Rock Creek area and the Wood Mountain Uplands. The park's West Block can be accessed near the village of Val Marie on Hwy #4 and Hwy #18. Val Marie is one and a half hour drive south of Swift Current. The Park's East Block can be accessed near the town of Wood Mountain on Hwy #18. More details at: www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/sk/grasslands/visit/visit1.aspx
Note from Robin : Check the weather report before heading to the Dark Sky Preserve. You’re hoping for a clear night.
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