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The 12 Darkest Places in the United States Perfect For Stargazing

Although it’s a great pastime, not all American towns have clear skies for stargazing. Clear sky and minimal light pollution are necessary for seeing stars clearly. Even a half-hour drive outside of a major metropolis can work wonders occasionally. So, which American locations have the darkest skies? Discover the top 12 darkest locations in the US for stargazing by reading on.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado is the first place on our list. At 149,028 acres, this magnificent national park boasts a tremendous surface area. There are enormous sand dunes, immaculate lakes, and towering mountain peaks to explore during your trip. Nor do the activities stop at night. An International Dark Sky Park is this national park. You have the option of participating in a ranger-led night programme or going stargazing on your own. In either case, one of the greatest locations in the US to view the Milky Way is Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The best times to see the Milky Way are in the late summer and autumn.

Capitol Reef National Park

Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park comes next. Not unexpectedly, one national park is in Utah. This stunning state is home to five national parks! The total surface area of Capitol Reef National Park is 241,904 acres. Despite being most famous for its stony formations and rich history, this beautiful park is an excellent location for stargazing. In 2015, Capitol Reef National Park received the designation of International Dark Sky Park. Danish Hill, Cedar Mesa Primitive Campground, and Cathedral Valley Primitive Campground are a few of the best spots in the area for stargazing.

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park in Texas is also one of the darkest locations in the US, making it an ideal spot for astronomy. This park in far-west Texas is an excellent place to escape the noise. You can go birdwatching, hiking, camping, and picturesque driving while you’re here. The park is home to 56 permanent residents out of around 450 species of birds that have been documented. Bird watching is harder at night, but there are amazing opportunities to see the stars. Grab a chair and some binoculars, then settle back to observe the Milky Way, meteor showers, constellations, and more.

Cape Lookout National Seashore

If you want clear, black stars and a refreshing sea air, you really must visit Cape Lookout National Seashore for stargazing. This gorgeous beach is located in North Carolina and spans 28,243 acres of surface area. March 10, 1966, saw its designation as a national seashore, and each year, roughly 500,000 people visit it. Throughout the year, this International Dark Sky Park conducts a number of astronomy events.

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most well-known national parks in the country, and for good reason. But did you know that this park has much more to offer than just breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon and reddish-orange rock formations? The park sparkles and glistens at night, lit up by thousands of brilliant stars. Numerous star-related activities and events, such as the Grand Canyon Star Party, are held within the park. If you plan to go, don’t forget to just bring red lights.

Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge

The Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge in Montana is another location that is ideal for stargazing because it is among the darkest in the country. The Pleasant Valley is home to the Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge. Being a haven for migratory birds, it’s an excellent location for birding. Moose and grey wolves are among the other creatures seen in this wildlife sanctuary. Every day of the year, this International Dark Sky Sanctuary is open. Any of the parking spaces that are allocated for stargazing is open.

Medicine Rocks State Park

Medicine Rocks State Park is another location in Montana that made our list. This park was created in 1957 and has 330 acres of surface space. Numerous activities are available for visitors to this isolated state park, including camping, picnics, stargazing, and wildlife viewing. Since 2020, it has held certification as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary. It is one of the state’s two official dark sky locations.

Cherry Springs State Park

A trip to Cherry Springs State Park is something you won’t soon forget. This state park is well-known for offering breathtaking views of the night sky. You may become lost in the sky for hours or even the entire night. The Pennsylvanian county of Potter is home to Cherry Springs State Park. Since the park is open all year round, you may observe the stars in the winter. There is a risk, though, as this sport might become hazardous due to snow and ice. You can engage in either short-term or long-term stargazing here. The Night Sky Public Viewing Area is the greatest spot to view stars in the near future.

Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park is a must-see location while visiting the 12 darkest locations in the US that are ideal for astronomy. The Nevadan county of White Pine is home to the 77,180-acre Great Basin National Park. Because of its isolation, this undiscovered gem is among the best spots in the nation to see stars. It’s among the least frequented national parks in the United States. Summer nights at the Great Basin National Park, when there are no clouds and no moon, are excellent for stargazing.

Cosmic Campground

Not every location on our list is a state or national park. In western New Mexico’s Gila National Forest is the picturesque Cosmic Campground. In 2016, this location received the designation of International Dark Sky Place. In fact, it’s the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary created in the United States. You can see the entire sky unhindered and with little light pollution from here.

Denali National Park and Preserve

Not unexpectedly, Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska made our list. With good cause, this beautiful national park welcomes more than 600,000 people annually. Beautiful lakes, towering snow-capped peaks, and wildflower-filled paths can all be found at the Denali National Park and Preserve. At night, the good times never end. You might be able to view the Northern Lights if you go in the autumn, winter or early spring.

Death Valley National Park

The last but certainly not least is California’s Death Valley National Park. It’s very common to visit this beautiful national park. This national park welcomes more than 1.1 million tourists annually, but not all of them are aware of the breathtaking nighttime activity offered there: stargazing. There is no closing time for Death Valley National Park, which provides a stunning view of the Milky Way’s hazy and vibrant colours. The International black-Sky Association has categorised it as Gold grade, the highest grade, because of how black it is.