Star Light, Star Bright – Stargazing Opportunities on Public Lands

Star Light, Star Bright – Stargazing Opportunities on Public Lands

While Comet NEOWISE is the night sky story of 2020, once the comet has left our skies later this summer, you’ll still find the night skies in National Parks to be awe-inspiring!

Our Nation’s Vacation locations are among the very best places to stargaze. Most are located well away from population centers that create light pollution, and if you’re staying in a National Park lodge, then it may be just a matter of walking out of your hotel room to see some amazing views! If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some especially stellar locations from which to enjoy the night sky.

Lake Powell: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Situated on the border of Arizona and Utah, Lake Powell is located far away from the light pollution of big cities. If you have rented a houseboat and are camping along the shoreline, you’re sure to see amazing night skies wherever you are on the lake. If you are a campground or hotel guest, Wahweap Overlook (on Highway 89 just as you enter the park from Page, AZ) is a great place to catch some nighttime views.

Mesa Verde National Park

Due to the lack of major cities in the area, Mesa Verde is an ideal park for gazing on the same stars that the Ancestral Puebloans viewed centuries ago. If you’re staying in the park at either Far View Lodge or Morefield Campground you’ll be perfectly situated to take in the brilliant night skies since both locations are tucked away in the park.

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake Lodge is located in the heart of the park and overlooks Crater Lake, offering majestic views right from the lodge’s deck. The isolation of the park and the large amount of land surrounding the lake, makes it the ideal place to stargaze, especially on nights that lack clouds or when the moon isn’t full. The view of the sky is wide open, due to the collapsed volcanic caldera that created Crater Lake, so grab a warm blanket and head for any parking area along the rim for amazing viewing.

Olympic National Park

When the clouds clear, summer night skies on the Olympic Peninsula are hard to beat! Over 95% of Olympic National Park is designated as wilderness and with almost a million acres, you’re sure to find the perfect spot for some night sky viewing. Notable locations include Lake Crescent, Lake Quinault, Hurricane Ridge and Ruby Beach.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite offers a pristine environment for night sky viewing. If you go to Glacier Point, you’ll be able to view the stars over Half Dome and all of Yosemite Valley. Tuolumne Meadows is another great location in the high country. But don’t discount simply heading for the outdoors in Yosemite Valley – the views from the valley floor are truly inspiring.


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