Cowboy Campfires and the Night’s Sky

Photo Credit: Jake Dyson / Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

Banff National Park is home to dazzling night skies.

Night sky in Banff
Photo Credit: John Price @johnpricephotography

Having little to no light pollution, Banff National Park is a great place for stargazing and enjoying the stars under some of the darkest skies on the planet.

Cowboy campfires

Campfire in Banff National Park

Imagine you’re looking up at a shimmering star-speckled sky. There’s a crackling fire in front of you, where half a dozen other campers — most of them wearing cowboy hats — are all chatting about the day’s ride into the backcountry. And whenever there’s a break in the conversation, everyone just leans back and stares up the cosmic light show sparkling above them.

Stargazing in the backcountry

The backcountry of Banff National Park is the perfect place for stargazing because it’s tucked away from the light pollution of nearby urban centres, like Calgary or even the Town of Banff. This ambient urban glow can limit how many stars people see. But in most cases, relaxing in the Banff backcountry at night means first backpacking into the wilderness and then pitching a tent. And not everyone is physically able to make such a journey — or they’re not up for “roughing it” in the wilderness.

Northern lights in Banff National Park
Photo Credit: Mital Patel @mitalpatelphoto

Backcountry Vacations in Banff National Park

That’s part of the reason why Banff Trail Riders offers overnight horseback riding trips into the backcountry, where guests can stay at either at a lodge or in a spacious canvas A-frame tent. This way, travellers can still soak up the glittering beauty of the night sky while sitting around the campfire and then settle into a plush bed when it’s time to sleep.

Relax at Flints Camp on the Cascade Valley Backcountry Tent Trip with Banff Trail Riders in the Canadian RockiesIt’s the most comfortable way to explore Banff’s backcountry.

Jonathan Welsh, operating partner at Banff Trail Riders, said relaxing beneath a dome of fiery stars is one of the highlights of a backcountry horseback trip.

“It’s a rare chance to get an authentic western experience.”

Night sky and stars at Halfway Lodge

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