The best stargazing spots in the US

Stef Zisovska
 

What’s better than stargazing?  Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it was years ago when there were far less city lights around us. Today, it’s not enough to just step outside and look up. For a unique stargazing experience, you need to drive far from the city and if possible park in an elevated area where there are no artificial lights that can disturb your night of stargazing.   Here in the US we have plenty of perfect dark-sky spots where you can observe the stars above.

Here are some stand out favorites:

Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania

The constellation Sagittarius, as seen from Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania – Author: Kevin Wigell – CC BY-SA 3.0

Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania is one of the many state parks in the country with a dark sky. The sky view here is 360 degrees, as the park is located on a hilltop and completely surrounded by forest, so there is not one artificial light source anywhere near. The experience of being in this park will create some great memories that you will never forget. Also, if you are an outdoor photography lover, bring your best camera and grab some great shots of the awesome night sky.

Death Valley National Park, California

For big night skies there is no better place than Death Valley National Park in California.

If you are somebody who enjoys watching meteor showers and lunar eclipses, then there is no better place than Death Valley National Park in California. More than 90% of the park is total wilderness with almost no artificial light sources. The best time to visit the site is from November to April when the temperatures are lower and often only reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In this time you can also join one of the ranger night sky guided programs and learn everything you always wanted to know.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico

Chaco Canyon Chetro Ketl great kiva plaza 

The Chaco Culture National Historical Park has more than 4,000 archaeological sites where you can sit at night and stargaze with barely any light around. Chaco can only be reached by dirt road, so you need to follow the instructions on the official park website. It can be quite an adventure to get to the park but you will be rewarded with one of the best night skies in the country.

Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

A stargazing list is no good wihtout mentioneing the Northern Lights

A stargazing list is no good without mentioning the Northern lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, in Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. If you want to see a mix of stars with .the Northern Lights, then you need to go to Alaska and find out what a real night sky experience is. A wild landscape with only one road where you can drive for hours and park whenever you want to stare at the sky.

If you’re planning to stargaze in Denali, do it in fall or winter when there are more dark hours. The summer months have too much light, and you’ll be unable to see the stars.

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Beneath the Milky Way – Author: ESO/Luis Calçada/Herbert Zodet – CC BY 4.0

A remote area in southwest Texas, Big Bend is where you can see more than 2,000 stars, planets, and meteorites. The best time to visit Big Bend is during the winter when the nights are longer and clearer. At this time of year, there are fewer winds that bring clouds that can cover the sky and block the incredible views. The clear starry nights in Big Bend are also a result of low humidity, remote location, and almost no clouds.

Choose your favorite stargazing spot and go for a road trip to one of the best US national parks.

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