20 min drive outside Grande Prairie. Quiet, easily accessible lake with little light pollution. Watch stunning northern light shows. Low light pollution means lots of stars viewing.

Interested in watching the northern lights (aurora borealis) dance across the sky only minutes from Grande Prairie? Optimal viewing is from September through April, when solar activity is at its highest.

Saskatoon Island Provincial Park, located 25 km west of Grande Prairie on Hwy 43, is the ideal location for people who want to do night photography without the need of driving too far. The parking lot of the park is on the south side of Saskatoon Lake, making it ideal for photographing the northern lights as they are in the northern hemisphere.

The Aurora Borealis, which is always present, is not always visible to the naked eye. The camera can capture even the faintest aurora glow usually showing up as the colour green. To make sure you arrive at the park during optimal aurora viewing times, make sure you check out www.aurorawatch.ca before heading out.

Make sure you use the following camera settings to capture the lights:

  • DSLR or CSC cameras only
  • The wider the lens, the more stars and aurora you can capture
  • Sturdy tripod
  • Try to keep the aperture (f/) under 4. It is ideal to shoot at f/2.8
  • Using Manual (M) mode, depending on intensity and brightness of the lights, try first setting the shutter speed to 10 seconds, then work your way up to 15-20 seconds if needed (moonlight will greatly affect your scene, so make sure you lower your shutter speed if the moon is out)
  • set your ISO to 800 or higher depending on light conditions. If the northern lights are bright, I like to use ISO 1250. If the lights are not as vibrant, bringing up your ISO to 3200 can bring out more stars.

Pack List

  • DSLR or CSC Camera
  • Sturdy tripod
  • Headlamp or flashlight
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Activities Chillin, Photography
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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