These are great times to contemplate dark skies, especially with the Meteor Watch Day upon us, time to grab your telescope, your picnic or backpacking essentials and head off to the most beautiful places in the U.S. for stargazing.
The key to truly appreciate starry summer nights is to find a nice spot away from human light pollution. Luckily for you, we’ve put together seven of the best places in the U.S. for stargazing.
1. Cherry Springs State Park – Pennsylvania
This 82-acre park is atop a hill in the middle of the vast and majestic Susquehannock State Forest. It is one of the handful recreational area awarded as a Dark Sky park making it a premier destination for astronomers and stargazers.
Despite its proximity to Pennsylvania Route 44 and nearby urban area and on-site camping grounds, Cherry Springs State Park has spots with unequaled darkness and clarity of sky.
2. Death Valley National Park – California
You won’t find any artificial lights on hundreds of thousands of acres when you wander the Death Valley National Park at night. This makes it a preferred vantage point for those who want to catch meteor showers or even eclipses.
Death Valley is among the Gold-Certified International Dark Sky Parks in the U.S. However, beware of the dry climate and high temperatures for this National Park is often cited as one of the harshest places in the world.
3. Chaco Culture National Historical Park – New Mexico
This one is for the real adventurers as the path to the stargazing sites are only accessible via dirt roads, which can be challenging to navigate for inexperienced drivers.
Nonetheless, Chaco CNHP is a haven for stargazing with astronomy programs and sky viewing events dedicating to promoting the discipline and the hobby.
Amidst the New Mexico wilderness, this other Gold-Certified International Dark Sky Park offers rustic settings for the most romantic weekends, plus prime viewing conditions for the most memorable stargazing experience.
4. Natural Bridges International Dark Sky Park – Utah
The breathtaking scenery of this 12-Utah park will warm the heart of every hiker, rock climber, and nature lover.
In fact, the park is famous for hosting Kachina, Owachomo, Sipapu, three majestic rock formations shaped like overpass bridges and jaw-dropping window through which one must watch the sunset at least once in a lifetime.
The park is definitely a dream spot for stargazing into the perfect darkness above the Colorado Plateau.
5. Bryce Canyon National Park – Utah
You know you’ve found the right place for stargazing when it is home to an Annual Astronomy Festival and a hangout for astronomy enthusiasts of all levels.
The 15th edition of the Astrofest will be held June 17-20 2015 and will be the ultimate rendezvous for those who want to stare into the stars and the Milky Way, with their naked eyes.
Best time to visit is during the new moon when the clear air and high altitude brings viewers make the stars so clear, you will feel like you could touch them.
6. Glacier National Park – Montana
The Glacier National Park is one of the best camping grounds in the U.S. and a dream destination for backpackers with the presence of pristine lakes, lush forests on both sides of the border with Canada.
Should you choose to trekking there this summer, you must sleep under the stars. There are almost no human influences in the area which means no light pollution and perfect visual conditions for stargazing.
7. Denali National Park And Preserve – Alaska
To be thorough about stargazing, we must mention the Northern Lights. You do not have to travel to the Canadian Yukon province or Scandinavia to experience the unique beauty of an Aurora Borealis.
The Denali National Park and Preserve is hands down the best place in the U.S. to see the sky light up with shades of green, red, and blue. The protected area has an untouched wilderness scattered over 6 million acres any serious nature enthusiast will love to explore.
What is your favorite spot for stargazing? Tell us about it in the comments!