Have you taken advantage of Parks Canada's Discovery Pass this year?

To celebrate Canada's 150th—the federal agency is offering FREE admission to all national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas throughout 2017. (Plus, free seasonal lockage too, on national historic waterways.)

We're continuing our look at some of the MOST UNIQUE ways to experience our parks and historic sites:


See the Starriest Skies

Canada leads the world in recognizing areas with little light pollution. Known as Dark Sky Preserves, they’re areas with especially dark skies—ideal for enjoying a little stargazing. Nine are in national parks including: Jasper, Elk Island, Grassland, Bruce Peninsula, Fathom Five, Point Pelee, Kouchibouguac, Fundy, Kejimkujik and Wood Buffalo—the world’s largest DSP. 

Art in the Parks

The national parks have long inspired artists. Now artists are repaying the favour, creating 18 installations in national parks and historic sites across the country. 

The project, LandMarks 2017, brings together curators, artists and art students from 15 universities to imagine, create and then erect contemporary art in public spaces to encourage discussion and more creation. 

Find out more about the artists and the 18 locations of their work at landmarks2017.ca.

Citizen Science

Cape Breton HighlandsParks Canada

Become a citizen scientist by taking part in a bio-blitz at national parks and historic sites across the country. Check bioblitzcanada.ca for all the locations and more information, or head to one of these events in summer and fall:

August 1-30: Cape Breton Highlands National Park (pictured above)

October 9-15: Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park

May to October: Chambly Canal National Historic Site

Geography Champs

Highest Cliff: Rising 1,370 metres and overhanging an average of 15 degrees, the south face of Auyuittuq National Park’s Mount Thor is the tallest cliff face on Earth. 

Highest Mountain: Mount Logan in Yukon’s Kluane National Park is the highest mountain in Canada and the second-highest in North America at 5,959 metres (and growing). 

Deepest Canyon: Nahʔą Dehé’s (Nahanni National Park Reserve) South Nahanni River’s First Canyon, the furthest downstream, is the deepest of the river’s four (1,000 metres) and one of the deepest in the country.

Biggest National Park: Larger than the country of Switzerland, Wood Buffalo National Park protects 44,807 square-kilometres of northeastern Alberta and southern Northwest Territories.

Largest Lake: Lake Superior is the largest lake on Earth by surface area, but the largest entirely in Canada is Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories, with a surface area of 31,153 square-kilometres. Two of its peninsulas are national historic sites, recognizing the area’s importance to local First Nations.


Wildlife Where & When

WapuskParks Canada/Wayne Lynch

September: One of the best wildlife-viewing parks gets better as the elk rut builds towards an antler-clashing crescendo in Waterton Lakes National Park.

October: Polar bears congregate on the coastline of Wapusk National Park, waiting for the sea ice to form on Hudson Bay. (pictured)

November: In Gwaii Haanas National Park, the last of the Pacific salmon complete their migration into freshwater to reproduce then die.

Soak It In

Nothing is quite as satisfying after a day of playing outside than soaking in hot mineral water. Try these five:

  • Cave and Basin National Historic Site (Upper Springs), Banff National Park
  • Radium Hot Springs, Kootenay National Park
  • Miette Hot Springs, Jasper National Park
  • Kraus Hot Springs, Nahʔą Dehé (Nahanni National Park Reserve)
  • Hotspring Island, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site

Cool Places to Sleep 

Fundy National ParkParks Canada

Across the country, where you rest your head can be as memorable as what you do during the day.

  • Prairie Teepee, Waterton Lakes 
  • Prairie Teepee, Grasslands National Park (pictured at top of page)
  • Abbot Pass Hut, Banff/Yoho national parks
  • Safari Tent, Georgian Bay Islands National Park
  • Micro-Cube, Forillon National Park
  • Micro-Cube, Riding Mountain National Park
  • Cocoon Tree Bed, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Goutte d’Ô, Fundy National Park (pictured above)
  • Lighthouse, Mingan Archipelago National Park

 Find out more about these sites and activities at pc.gc.ca.

These experiences are just the start.

Discover 150 MORE amazing outdoor adventures in our brand-new, totally free e-book: CANADA'S 150 MOST AMAZING OUTDOOR ADVENTURES.Canada's 150 Most Amazing Outdoor Adventures

Click HERE to gain instant access to this valuable FREE e-book today.