Stargaze in the World's Largest Accessible Dark Sky Preserve

By Jasper Dark Sky Festival
August 8, 2023
Jasper Dark Sky Festival
The stars shine over Jasper - courtesy of Jasper Dark Sky Festival

For the thirteenth year in a row, astronauts, aurora chasers, and space enthusiasts from across North America will gather in the Canadian Rockies for the Jasper Dark Sky Festival. Happening this year from October 13th to 22nd, this one-of-a-kind annual event promises cosmic concerts, fascinating speakers, and supernova-sized experiences.

Located within the world's largest accessible dark sky preserve, stargazers will find plenty to dazzle their telescopes at the 2023 festival. But science enthusiasts of all types will also find events to light up their frontal lobe. The Jasper Dark Sky Festival invites everyone to immerse themselves in the wonder of the universe with an array of things to do for all ages.

Listen to Amazing Speakers

The night sky over Jasper, Alberta, Canada by Joshua Woronecki - Unsplash

Renowned speakers like retired astronaut Marc Garneau, award-winning spaceflight history writer Emily Carney and NASA scientist Dr. Kartik Sheth will gather to share their knowledge and insights about everything from space funerals to cosmic weather trackers. Attendees will have the chance to ask questions, get inspired, and connect with like-minded enthusiasts in small group settings.

Attend Interactive and Family-friendly Events

The festival puts on mesmerizing events and performances - courtesy of Jasper Dark Sky Festival

If sitting through seminars isn't quite the adventure you had in mind, the festival has plenty of interactive and fun ways to experience the beauty of the stars. With a lineup that includes everything from concerts, hikes, telescope viewing opportunities, and more, there are more than enough ways to entertain every traveler in your group. Events include:

    • Drone Light Show: Now with two hundred choreographed drones to light up the sky, this jaw-dropping audience-favourite show must be seen to be believed.
    • Stargazing Sessions: With guides on hand from the Jasper Planetarium, experience the thrill of observing distant galaxies through the biggest telescopes in the Rockies.
    • Kid-Friendly Activities: The festival caters to all ages, with activities designed to spark curiosity and wonder in young minds. Kids can enjoy rocketry demonstrations, geocaching adventures, and interactive exhibits from TELUS World of Science – Edmonton.
    • Animals of the Night Hike: Join a local guide for a family-friendly night hike up Pyramid Beach.
    • Cosmic Concerts: Feel the vastness of the universe as talented musicians take the stage at Symphony Under the Stars, hosted at the luxurious Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Hear the drumbeat of the mountains at pahkisimon, an Indigenous sunset ceremony at Annette Lake. Rock out to the fun, futuristic songs performed by Jay Ingram and the Dark Sky Band.
    • Night Sky Photography: Calling all astrophotography enthusiasts! Beginners to advanced levels can learn from local experts and capture the beauty of Jasper's dark skies.
    • And more: The ever-popular Science for Breakfast series will be joined by new events: Talk Nerdy to Me, the Science of Brewing, and more. A full list of events is available on the website.

    — For more information, ticket purchases, and a detailed schedule of events, please visit the official Jasper Dark Sky Festival and discover the magic that lies above!

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    Head to Kentucky for this Enchanting Waterfall Trail

    The Kentucky Wildlands Waterfall Trail highlights 17 of some of the most unique and accessible waterfalls across southern and eastern Kentucky. The trail not only provides logistical information like length, difficulty and how to access each trail, it also highlights waterfalls with special features, including the tallest waterfall, an ADA-accessible waterfall and family-friendly falls and trails. With more than 14,000 square miles and 800+ waterfalls in this part of Kentucky alone, the trail makes it easy for people to explore the ancient forests, mountains and unspoiled terrain of The Kentucky Wildlands—those who do will be rewarded with breathtaking waterfall views. The Kentucky Wildlands Waterfall Trail illustrated map - courtesy of The Kentucky Wildlands “We are incredibly excited to debut this trail so that those unfamiliar with the area can better understand and navigate the diverse beauty of the Wildlands,” said Tammie Nazario, Director of The Kentucky Wildlands. “We want to encourage people to discover the natural wonders here, which include an abundance of beautiful waterfalls, and we hope this easy-to-follow guide inspires them to plan a trip to experience some of the many we have to offer.” No two falls are alike on The Kentucky Wildlands Waterfall Trail. Featured waterfalls include Cumberland Falls, also known as the “Niagara of the South,” the 113-foot Yahoo Falls, and Creation Falls, which has a plunge pool great for wading. The trail incorporates everything from wheelchair- and stroller-accessible hikes like the one to Flat Lick Falls to more challenging routes such as the rocky climb to Eagle Falls. The entire waterfall trail can be found online. The trail is displayed on an illustrated map that gives visitors a glimpse of what each of the 17 falls looks like and where it's located within The Kentucky Wildlands. Visitors can download a waterfall guide as well as access photos of the falls, important details and insider tips on the website. Below are a just a few of the featured waterfalls on the trail. Pine Island Double Falls (London) Within the Daniel Boone National Forest lies a rare double waterfall, Pine Island Double Falls, where two powerful blue cascades meet in the middle and plunge into a pristine aquamarine pool below. You can access this impressive hidden gem via a 1.4-mile trek that follows a creek and features numerous natural wonders, such as caves, gorges, canyons and rock formations. As with most waterfalls, the best time to visit is right after a heavy rainfall. Dog Slaughter Falls (Corbin) Dog Slaughter Falls in Kentucky by Joshua Michaels - Unsplash Dense stands of hemlock and rhododendron and massive boulders line the one-mile path to stunning Dog Slaughter Falls. A second path to the falls, twice as long as the first, is easily accessible and both are considered only moderately challenging, making them good options for families, as well as nature lovers. Upon arriving you can take in the falls from many vantage points surrounding the blue plunge pool, which also makes a gorgeous swimming hole. Creation Falls (Wolfe County) Venture into the rugged Red River Gorge to Creation Falls with its family-friendly plunge pool that’s great for wading. The 1.4 mile out-and-back Rock Bridge Trail is considered moderately challenging and is one of the most visually stunning trails in the Gorge. Along the way to the arch (rock bridge) for which the trail is named, you’ll come upon magnificent Creation Falls. If you start the loop going clockwise, you’ll descend first into the woods to a scenic creek. Bad Branch Falls (Letcher County) On the south side of Pine Mountain lies Bad Branch State Nature Preserve, home to Bad Branch, a designated Kentucky Wild River and Bad Branch Falls. Impressive year-round, the 60-foot waterfall lies at the end of a moderate one-mile well-maintained trail that takes you through old timber roads, a shady gorge, and hemlock forest surrounded by sandstone cliffs. Climb over boulders, enjoy the spray and watch for rainbows in the water at the foot of the falls. Cumberland Falls (Whitley and McCreary County) Cumberland Falls in Kentucky by Lauren Barton - Unsplash Roaring Cumberland Falls at 68 feet tall and 125 feet wide certainly lives up to its “Niagara of the South” moniker. 3,600 cubic feet of water spills over sandstone cliffs into the gorge below every second to create an awe-inspiring sight and sound. View these majestic falls from above or below in Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. Visit during a full moon for the chance to witness a rare moonbow, one of only two that occur in the world. Princess Falls (McCreary County) The section of the Sheltowee Trace Trail that leads to Princess Falls takes you along Lick Creek as it parallels the Cumberland River. You’ll spot many small waterfalls and interesting rock formations worth exploring along this relatively flat and easy trail, making it ideal for young hikers. Using the trailhead from the upper tier of the parking lot avoids much of the muddier trail conditions. These photogenic falls are named after Cherokee Princess Cornblossom. Anglin Falls (Rockcastle) Streams trickling over rock cliffs, lush greenery and wildflowers line the way to jaw-dropping Anglin Falls, located in the wooded ravine of John B. Stephenson Memorial Forest State Park. The short 1.7-mile out-and-back hike up to Anglin Falls is mostly uphill and offers views of limestone outcroppings and small caves with a few challenging spots. It’s considered a moderate route, though, taking less than an hour to complete with benches for resting along the way.


    Cruise Through Detroit's Greenways and Bike Paths

    Detroit is known for its automobiles—they're a core part of the Motor City nickname that the city takes pride in. Millions of cars have been assembled under the parentage of Detroit's “Big Three” manufacturers, and America's motor vehicle fascination can trace its supply right to the metro Detroit region. But in today's Detroit, the automobile takes second fiddle compared to the bicycle. Because with acclaimed greenways and innovative bike share companies, the Motor City is increasingly driven by pedals. Just take a look at Detroit's premier greenways – the International Riverwalk, Dequindre Cut and Southwest Greenway – all of which are full of bicycles and other pedal-powered vehicles. Experience Motor City by Trail View from Belle Island near Detroit by Walter Martin - Unsplash “I've done it myself, biking up the Riverwalk and taking in the scenery,” Visit Detroit CEO & President Claude Molinari said. “And what we're hearing from parents, workers, just general bike enthusiasts is that these trails are a lifeline for the interconnectivity of Detroit. Our region is just getting started providing some of the nation's best bike paths to provide equitable access between our city, our neighborhoods and our economy.” The International Riverwalk is the nation's top-ranked riverwalk, tracing the banks of the Detroit River it shares with Canada – including historic Belle Isle, an island park located between the United States and Canada. The Dequindre Cut is a 2.5-mile path converted from an abandoned railroad line, one of the first greenways opened in Detroit. Additionally, the Southwest Greenway opened in May 2023 after sponsorship from the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. It connects Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park, a community space set to open in 2024, with Michigan Central Station, newly renovated and home to Ford Motor Company's electric vehicle (EV) research teams. All of Detroit's modes of transportation are connected via these greenways, making the transportation arteries increasingly important. A row of bikes in Detroit by Sadie Coulter - Unsplash Together, the three established trails provide more than 6.5 miles of bikeable paths that create equitable access to hundreds of shops, offices and restaurants in Detroit. It's never been easier for Detroiters to trade in their car keys for a bike helmet, not only helping the environment by lowering personal emissions but also saving money in an increasingly difficult economy. These bike paths are only expanding, as the 27.5-mile Joe Louis Greenway project is rapidly growing thanks to its award-winning Framework Plan. This path will connect and expand Detroit's existing trails, as well as link them to pathways in nearby Dearborn, Hamtramck and Highland Park. The under-construction Gordie Howe Bridge will also connect to the Joe Louis Greenway in 2025, with bike access linking the United States and Canada at one of the two nations' busiest intersections. Pickup Bikes On-Demand Buildings in Detroit by Alex Brisbey - Unsplash Even the very access to bikes has seen innovation in Detroit, as local rental company MoGo provides a comprehensive bikeshare service similar to Spin scooters. These MoGo bikes allow anyone to rent a bike on-demand, getting Detroiters where they need to be, when they need to be there. Detroit's past might've been tied to the gas-powered automobile, but its future is tied to sustainable multimodal transportation. With increasing options for Detroiters to skip the gas station and bike to work, eat or play, the city has never been more interconnected than today. And with so many projects underway, the current state of transportation pales in comparison to the future.


    The Most Endangered Places in America

    Earlier this summer, the National Trust for Historic Preservation unveiled its 2023 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, an annual ranking that spotlights significant sites of American history that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. “This year's list of the nation's most endangered historic places is a portfolio of sites that are nearly as diverse as the American experience itself,” said Jay Clemens, interim president and CEO of the National Trust. “The places on this list come in all forms, from individual residences to entire neighborhoods, and are located across the country from small communities to urban streetcorners and rural landscapes. The diversity of sites on the 2023 list—and the stories behind them—reflect the complexities and challenges that have always been part of what it means to be American but have not always received the attention they deserve. Losing any of them would diminish us all.” Since first debuting in 1988, the list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has proven to be a highly effective tool for shining a light on the threats facing our nation's greatest treasures. Due to the efforts of the National Trust and our passionate supporters, the 11 Most list has often provided the decisive force needed to preserve important cultural landmarks. Now in its 36th year, the ongoing initiative has galvanized public support behind more than 350 sites across the country with only a handful lost. Below are the 11 places that make up the list for 2023, sorted alphabetically by state. Osterman Gas Station, Peach Springs, Arizona Built in 1929, the Osterman Gas Station along Route 66 has been a focal point of the Hualapai Tribal community for generations. Extreme weather has damaged the already deteriorated building, and it needs stabilization and rehabilitation in order to continue to serve its community and the next generation of travelers. In consultation with experts, the Tribe is developing a preservation and reuse plan and raising funds to save the Hualapai-owned gas station. Little Santo Domingo, Miami, Florida Aerial view of Miami, Florida by Ashley Satanosky - Unsplash Little Santo Domingo, the cultural heart of Allapattah, is a key commercial corridor in one of Miami's oldest neighborhoods. Growing development interest in Little Santo Domingo is leading to displacement, demolition, and rising rents. The Allapattah Collaborative hopes to encourage a more balanced approach to development and preservation while protecting the neighborhood's heritage and culture. Pierce Chapel African Cemetery, Midland, Georgia Pierce Chapel African Cemetery, established circa 1828, is one of the oldest burial grounds for Africans enslaved at several plantations in Harris County, Georgia, and their descendants. However, the cemetery has deteriorated over time and suffered damage due to recent use of heavy construction equipment. The descendant-led Hamilton Hood Foundation is leading efforts to raise awareness about this significant place and preserve Pierce Chapel and its stories for future generations. Century and Consumers Buildings, Chicago, Illinois View of the Chicago skyline by Dylan Lapierre - Unsplash As two iconic early skyscrapers along Chicago's historic State Street, the Century and Consumers Buildings contribute to the architectural significance of the area known as “the Loop.” Yet they have sat vacant since the General Services Administration bought them in 2005 and are now being considered for demolition. Advocates are urging reuse options that could meet security needs of the adjacent federal courthouse while avoiding the buildings' wasteful demolition. West Bank of St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana This 11-mile stretch along the Mississippi River in St. John the Baptist Parish includes historic villages, agricultural fields, and two plantations where the lives of enslaved people are studied and interpreted. But now port facility Greenfield Louisiana LLC has applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to build one of the largest grain elevators in the world amid the area's nationally significant cultural resources. A coalition of local and national advocates, including many descendants of people enslaved in the area, is advocating for the Army Corps to deny the permit or for the developer not to build the terminal. Holy Aid and Comfort Spiritual Church (aka Perseverance Benevolent and Mutual Aid Society Hall), New Orleans, Louisiana Built circa 1880 in New Orleans' 7th Ward, this building was first home to the Perseverance Benevolent and Mutual Aid Society, with its main hall doubling as a jazz venue, and later, the Holy Aid and Comfort Spiritual Church of Eternal Life. Impacted by repeated hurricane damage, the remaining portions of the building are threatened with collapse. Working in partnership, the pastor and congregation of Holy Aid and Comfort and the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans are seeking funding and support to stabilize the remaining historic fabric and reconstruct the rest of the building for congregational and community use. L.V. Hull Home and Studio, Kosciusko, Mississippi African American artist L.V. Hull transformed her Kosciusko, Mississippi, home into a creative wonderland that attracted visitors from around the world. Though her artwork was relocated after her death in 2008 and recently conserved by the Kohler Foundation, her unoccupied house suffers from neglect, vandalism, and weather exposure. Filmmaker and Hull's friend Yaphet Smith has purchased the house and is partnering with other advocates with a vision to create an arts campus celebrating Hull's legacy. However, they need partners and funding to restore and revive the home as the heart of this broader project, where it will tell a unique, overlooked story of a Black woman in the South who claimed a space to pursue her full artistic vision. Henry Ossawa Tanner House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Built in 1871, this North Philadelphia rowhouse was home to Henry Ossawa Tanner, an internationally recognized African American painter, along with many other Tanner family members with significant achievements. But gentrification is putting the neighborhood's Black cultural legacy and heritage landmarks such as the Tanner House—already seriously deteriorated—at risk of demolition or erasure. The Friends of the Tanner House and its partners are creating a long-term stewardship plan to reimagine the house's future. Philadelphia Chinatown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Storefront in Philadelphia's Chinatown by Ryan Favinger - Unsplash As one of the oldest remaining active Chinatowns in the United States, Philadelphia Chinatown has been a vibrant community since 1871. But with the 76ers basketball team proposing to build an arena abutting Chinatown, advocates—including the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation—are concerned that the development could further disconnect the neighborhood, discourage visitors, impact the local economy, displace residents and businesses, and ultimately contribute to the erasure of the area's cultural heritage. Neighborhood residents and leaders are encouraging arena supporters to listen to and invest in protecting the Chinatown community as they consider their options. Charleston's Historic Neighborhoods, Charleston, South Carolina Union Pier, a 65-acre waterfront site along the Cooper River in downtown Charleston, is former marshland that has been used for maritime shipping, industrial production, and port operations since the early 18th century. The pier's current owner, South Carolina Ports Authority, has proposed selling the land to a private developer for a new mixed-use district that could threaten the area's historic character, viewsheds, and climate resilience. Advocates and residents are encouraging the city government to start with a community-led vision for the site before the formal review of a specific development plan. Seattle Chinatown-International District, Seattle, Washington Storefront in the Chinatown-International District in Seattle by Jimmy Woo - Unsplash As one of the oldest Asian American neighborhoods on the West Coast, the Seattle Chinatown-International District (CID) has been a center of the city's Asian American life for more than a century. However, Seattle's Sound Transit is considering several transit expansion options that could impact transportation access and cultural preservation in the CID. Transit Equity for All, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Wing Luke Museum are part of a coalition advocating for a more transparent, equitable process that reflects careful decision-making, centers the voices of the CID, keeps the community connected to transit, and protects the neighborhood's vitality and cultural heritage for future generations. —To learn more about the places on this year's list and find out what you can do to help preserve them, go to


    Discover this Historically-rich Destination in the Heart of Mexico

    To know Mexico's state of Aguascalientes is to discover Mexico on a more intimate level. It's a place that is steeped in centuries-old traditions, history, and culture and embodies so much of what makes up the fabric of Mexico as a whole. With a history spanning more than five centuries, Aguascalientes is Mexico personified. The museum-rich capital of Aguascalientes is peppered with leafy parks, lined with broad boulevards, and dressed up with impressive architecture. It's a city that is as known for its industrial history as it is for its ornate cathedrals, rich wine culture, and high-end shopping. A small city compared to some of Mexico's other capitals, Aguascalientes packs a punch. Discover the very best of this important state in Mexico with the top 10 activities in Aguascalientes. Temple of San Antonio Like something out of an obscure fantasy novel, Aguascalientes’ Templo de San Antonio is unlike any other cathedral you’ll find in Mexico. The prestigious and hauntingly beautiful monument is quilted together with a variety of architectural styles, including neoclassical, baroque, gothic, Arabic, and Russian. More than just a mishmash of styles, it’s a swirl of brilliant colors, like yellow, green, and pink, all reflected in the veins of the quarry stone that was used to construct it. The mesmerizing structure is finished off with other opulent touches, like a stained glass Russian dome, towers, and soaring vaulted ceilings. Jardin de San Marcos Jardin de San Marcos - courtesy of EnRoute / Viva Aguascalientes An oasis of green in the city center of the city of Aguascalientes, the Jardin de San Marcos sits tucked behind an impressive stone archway. Creating a separate space away from the buzz of the city's energy, the park is a beloved hideaway of peace and tranquility right in the heart of downtown. Explore the meandering pathways that criss-cross the garden, or enjoy one of the many public events that are held at the central fountain. In fact, the San Marcos Fair is one of the most beloved city traditions and has been held since 1828. Altaria Shopping Center Aguascalientes is as cosmopolitan and modern as it is classic and historic. One of the main commercial centers in the city is the Altaria Shopping Center. Home to more than 130 brand-name stores, Altaria Shopping Center is the premiere luxury shopping venue in the capital city. But beyond designer labels and upscale boutiques, Altaria has a movie theater, restaurants, cafes, and even a few bars. It's much more than just a shopping mall — it's an urban center of luxury. Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption - courtesy of EnRoute / Viva Aguascalientes Classically beautiful, stately, and rich in history, the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption is one of the most important religious houses in Aguascalientes. The building dates back to 1704, though the construction was completed in 1738. Visitors are greeted by two massive twin towers. Inside the cathedral is a wash of white marble and the image of the Virgin of the Assumption, the patron of the city of Aguascalientes. Parque Tres Centurias Parque Tres Centurias - courtesy of EnRoute / Viva Aguascalientes History, culture, and community collide at the Parque Tres Centuries in downtown Aguascalientes. Aguascalientes' history is deeply rooted in railway heritage. The railroad played an important part in the industrialization of not only the state of Aguascalientes but in Mexico as a whole. Get to know the rail history of the state with a visit to the park, where tourists can explore historic sites like The Hidrocalida, a stunning locomotive that stands at the entrance to the plaza. Don't miss the park's impressive fountain, the largest in Latin America, which displays up to 60 different colors and whose spout can reach up to 12 meters. Plaza Patria and Exedra Plaza Patria - courtesy of EnRoute / Viva Aguascalientes Spread out in front of the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption is the Plaza Patria, or the main square of Aguascalientes. It is the premiere center of life in the city, as well as one of the most historic. Here is where visitors will find the Government Palace and the Municipal Palace, as well as the Legislative Palace and the Old Imperial Hotel. At the center of the square is the Exedra, a tall column, crowned with a sculpture of an eagle devouring a serpent, the national symbol of Mexico. Santa Elena Winery Mexico has some serious players in the international wine market, and Aguascalientes is one of them. The Vincola Santa Elena is one of the best wineries in central Mexico, featuring a vineyard, cellar, and wine cave where visitors can come to tour the grounds and take a tasting. The winery is known for producing decadent, full-bodied wines using varietals like Nebbiolo, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. The National Museum of Death Festival de Calaveras - courtesy of EnRoute / Viva Aguascalientes Spirituality is deeply ingrained in Mexican society and culture. The afterlife is one of its greatest fascinations, and keeping connected with the spirit world is a vital part of what it means to be Mexican. Aguascalientes has a museum dedicated to the afterlife, known as the National Museum of Death. The collection depicts the historic role of death and the funeral arts within Mexico, both throughout history and into the present day. The museum's collection includes paintings, sculptures, lithographs, and photos, all of which are used to illustrate the relationship between the living and the dead. Jose Guadalupe Posada Museum Museo Posada - courtesy of EnRoute / Viva Aguascalientes Speaking of Mexico's relationship with death, Dia de Los Muertos is one of the most important cultural traditions in the country. One of the great symbols of Day of the Dead is the iconic skeleton, "La Calavera Catrina." The artist who created her was Jose Guadalupe Posada and Aguascalientes features a museum dedicated to his life's work. Posada began producing illustrations of death following a massive flood that swept through Aguascalientes in 1882. The destruction was so overwhelming that it fueled his fascination. Death became a lasting theme in his art, which is on display at this Aguascalientes museum dedicated to his work. Museum of Aguascalientes Perhaps the best place to get a comprehensive overview about the culture and historical significance of Aguascalientes is at the city museum. Built in 1903, the pink stone, neoclassical building recognizes the work of the most famous artists from the state of Aguascalientes. The collection features paintings and sculptures from artists like Jesus F. Contrerars, Francisco Diaz de Leon, Gabriel Fernandez Ledesma, and Saturnino Herran. It is one of the premier museums in the country that celebrates the life and work of acclaimed Mexican artists.