An abbreviated guide for national parks for stargazing
Certain national parks offer more excellent stargazing opportunities than others. The list below will get you to the right place. Remember: Regardless of where you go, plan your journey to the new moon, which occurs when the moon isn’t apparent to the naked eye, resulting in the darkness of the night skies. (The Old Farmer’s Almanac website can help determine the time.)
Once the sun sinks beneath the Navajo Sandstone canyon walls of Zion National Park, The entire area plunges into pitch-black darkness. This is because, even though there are some small towns around Zion,, there’s a lot of light pollution in the area. (The nearest “big” city is Las Vegas, about 150 miles away, more than the distance needed to make Zion’s sky at night.)
The 229-square-mile park was officially recognized as an International Dark Sky Park in 2021. The close-by community in Springdale was also a part of the process this summer. While you could go stargazing by yourself we ,would recommend having the guides from Stargazing Zion guide you through in the dark sky. The two-hour tour is conducted by experts in astronomy who offer their knowledge in constellations and our solar system. The tour guides provide each guest with binoculars for stargazing to use on the trip. They also point a few of their powerful telescopes towards extraordinary cosmological phenomena like distant galaxies or Nebulae.
Travelers suggest: “Make a trip to the park in the evening. Park near the Canyon Junction and then walk down the canyon for a short distance on the trail called Pa’rus. You will see the Milky Way and more stars than you can imagine.
Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky
As the name suggests, Mammoth Cave National Park is well-known for its underground protection. It is the most extensive cave structure in the world. ,However, It is an easy-to-access area located just a 1.5-hour driving distance to Louisville, and. KY is beginning to earn attention for what lies higher up, higher, to the stars at nighttime.
The park’s 52,830-acre area was accredited by the International Dark Sky Park International Dark Sky Park two years ago due to the natural dark and retrofitted, stargazing-friendly lighting fixtures. The rangers today host nighttime parties and guided hikes. Be sure to check the official calendar of the park as you decide on your next journey.
You can rest under the stars at any of three developed campgrounds–Mammoth Cave, Maple Ferry, and Houchin Springs. For a more incredible adventure, consider dragging to one of the 13 backcountry campsites that are designated. You’ll require a permit, which you may book online in advance. Book one of the adorable cottages at Mammoth Cave to enjoy a relaxing time. Lodge in Mammoth Cave is located in the area’s hardwood forest.
Take advantage of your time at Mammoth Cave: Book the star chamber lantern tour where a ranger take you to the cave’s 198-foot depth. It will take 2.5 hours under the ground, where you might see specks of illumination coming from the areas where sooty Gypsum has split off. They look much like stars. This is the reason for the name of the tour.
Joshua Tree National Park in California
People looking to escape the city’s bright lights in LA should consider a trip towards Joshua Tree National Park, about three hours to the west. For residents of Southern California, this park of 792,623 acres is one of the most convenient spots to enjoy an uninterrupted view of the stars at night, making it ideal for an escape on a weekend.
Joshua Tree has had the International Dark Sky Association’s seal of approval since the year 2017. If you are staying near Palm Springs (about 45 45-minute drive from the park’s entry point) or book one of the more than 500 campsites within this park, you’ll have the luxury of observing the night sky without any light pollution on the way. (If you’re determined to spend the night under the stars, you can try to get a place on Cottonwood Campgrounds, which tends to be the darkest sky.)