Wed. Nov 29th, 2023
Winter is the best time for sunset lovers.

Winter skies are not known for their color.

While a fresh dusting of snow will brighten any landscape, we associate the colder months with dreary gray clouds.

It’s not just in our heads; winter does They come with fewer clear days.

During colder months, the upper atmosphere is usually warmer than the air at ground level. These air masses are very stable since the air only rises when it is warmer than the air above it. Without the mixing caused by rising air, clouds spread gently across the sky, obscuring our view of the sun and stars.

But when the wind breaks the clouds, we are often treated to truly spectacular skies.

Coast covered in ice and snow with sunset in the background.Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Ice formations can change daily, creating endlessly beautiful views.

The science of winter skies.

You’ve probably heard that winter is the perfect time for stargazing. There is less humidity in the air and fewer suspended particles that scatter light.

Red and violet sunset over a snow-covered lake.Quetico Provincial Park, with clouds reflecting the reds and purples of the setting sun

Clearer skies improve sunset views in the same way – it’s a myth that pollution creates better sunsets! The dry, clean air of winter makes the colors more vivid in this season.

Those pesky clouds can also add to the overall effect. When the sun is able to cross the horizon, its light is usually reflected from the underside of clouds. The clouds become a textured theater screen that spreads reds, oranges and purples across the sky.

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Sunset shining through frozen ice crystals on the branch.Rondeau Provincial Park. The ice that forms along the shores of the Great Lakes can create a particularly beautiful environment filled with delicate crystals.

How to plan your sunset viewing

When conditions are suitable, any coastline, meadow or high point with a good view to the southwest It will serve as an observation point.

Sunset through snowy branches.Pinery Provincial Park. In February, the sunset aligns with the mouth of the Old Ausable Canal, creating a perfect winter photo opportunity.

The beaches of Pinery Provincial Park, MacGregor Point Provincial Park, Silent Lake Provincial Park, Presqu’ile Provincial Park, and Darlington Provincial Park are great options.

If you are planning a stationary viewing experience, be sure to wrap. Your body can cool down quickly when you’re not moving. Dress in layers and consider bringing some hot chocolate.

Sunset over the frozen lake with a large cliff in the background.Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

Protect your eyes. Even in winter it is important not to look directly at the sun.

Remember that It will be dark after the sun sets.. Make sure you have an easy route back to your vehicle or campsite. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight or headlamp.

Perfect ending to a perfect day.

As you plan your next winter hike or ski adventure, add some time to watch the sunset into your schedule.

Fat motorcyclist on a frozen lake with sunset.

Check your local sunset time for the correct date and latitude, and arrive about thirty minutes early to see the full show. If you are lucky enough to have clear skies during your visit, you will have a unique experience.

Sunsets are not just for summer. Don’t let winter end before you can enjoy one of nature’s spectacular winter wonders.

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