Western Stargazing

Urban settings can get in the way of seeing every star in the sky, but these Western destinations will get you far away from the city and a bit closer to the Cosmos.

 

Death Valley National Park, California

If you're looking for millions of acres dedicated specifically to wilderness and growth, Death Valley reserves 91% of it's plot to the natural Earth. This, along with the dry climate and flat land, makes Death Valley a top contender for spots to view lunar eclipses, shooting stars and maybe a planet or two, with a good telescope.

 

Borrego Springs, California

This teeny tiny community of just over 3000 residents is designated as the world's second Dark Sky Place. No, this does not mean they really like Star Wars and Star Trek. Their community has worked to install motion-sensor lights, minimal outdoor lighting and educate others on the importance of dark skies. Because of this, the little town is perfect for seeing all you can in the dark skies.

 

via darkskiesawareness.org

Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Arizona

What better way to see a bit of outer space than hanging near one of the United State's most incredible natural wonders? The park is the first Bureau of Land Management-managed site to receive the "Dark Sky" award recognition. Just don't slip over the edge while you're admiring the Big Dipper.

 

Flagstaff, Arizona

For a city of almost 70,000, the night sky still shines bright due to strict lighting rules. Many residents have cited these rules as a main reason for relocating to the Arizona town.

 

Goldendale Observatory State Park, Washington

Just two hours from Portland, this itty-bitty state park has a big reputation for housing one of the country's largest public telescopes. Being close to a major city, this destination is a good choice for those who enjoy urban paradises as well as a rural night view.

 

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

With an exceptional view of the starry Milky Way galaxy, Natural Bridges was the first to recieve the "Dark Sky Park" award in 2007.