The Top 5 National Parks for Stargazing

Whether you're looking to get some alone time, have a perfect backdrop for your date, or take some crazy Milky Way photos, having a great view of the night sky is essential. But with all of the towns and cities popping up out of nowhere, it's becoming harder and harder to find dark places to enjoy. Thankfully, our National Parks Service does a fantastic job of preserving some of the best stargazing spots in the world for your viewing pleasure.

Here are 5 of the best national parks for stargazing.
Whether you're looking to get some alone time, have a perfect backdrop for your date, or take some crazy Milky Way photos, having a great view of the night sky is essential. But with all of the towns and cities popping up out of nowhere, it's becoming harder and harder to find dark places to enjoy. Thankfully, our National Parks Service does a fantastic job of preserving some of the best stargazing spots in the world for your viewing pleasure.

Here are 5 of the best national parks for stargazing.

1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming


Home to some of the most impressive natural features of the West, Yellowstone makes for a great place to check out the stars. Popular attractions like Lower Falls and Old Faithful have a bit of light pollution disrupting, but once your eyes adjust to the darkness, you won't have any problems seeing what you came for.

Stargazing Yellowstone National Park

Recommended Spot: Old Faithful -- The surrounding visitor area is in the process of minimizing light pollution, making your uncrowded night experience of Old Faithful even more impressive than with the lights on!

2. Big Bend National Park, Texas


If you're looking to get out into the middle of nowhere, look no further. Big Bend in West Texas is one of the darkest places you'll ever find yourself. In fact: it's the darkest national park in America! You can hike to your favorite rock feature or even enjoy the view from a primitive campground.

stargazing Big Bend National Park

Recommended Spot: Balanced Rock -- Take a 1-mile hike to an overlook of beautiful Big Bend. You won't see any light pollution from this point. But bring a headlamp and watch your step!

3. Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming


Take a short drive south from Yellowstone and you're in another beautiful stargazing area: Grand Tetons. With plenty of dark spots to choose from within the park, you won't have much difficulty finding a place to yourself to enjoy the night sky.

Stargazing Grand Tetons National Park

Recommended Spot: Moulton Barn -- Since this is possibly the most photographed barn in existence, don't be surprised if you're not the only one here. On any given night this spot is littered with fellow star seekers. If you have a camera and a sturdy tripod, you'll want to bring it!

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4. Arches National Park, Utah


Although Arches is a particularly crowded park during the day, the crowd dies out at night. Which means that night is the perfect chance for you to check out the park under the stars!

Stargazing Arches National Park

Recommended Spot: Delicate Arch -- Be careful on your hike up to the arch and be sure to have a trusty headlamp. The base of the arch has a steep drop-off, but the viewing area of the arch makes for a great place to spread out a blanket and watch the Milky Way shift across the sky!

5. Death Valley National Park, California


Like Big Bend, Death Valley is an IDA certified International Dark Sky Park. This simply means that it has a distinguished quality of starry nights and is preserved for public enjoyment. In short, if you don't see stars here, you're not looking up.

Stargazing Death Valley National Park

Recommended Spot: Zabriskie Point -- With a high vantage point, Zabriskie provides a great view of the vast desert landscape under the dark and starry skies.

*All photos (except for Arches National Park) courtesy Adam Fricke

Team Sierra blogger

Take a look at these other posts on stargazing and national parks:


Outdoor Photography Tips: How to Take Pictures of the Stars

Visit 12 National Parks Along the National Park to Park Highway

How to Make Star Gazing a Fun Family Activity

*All photos (except for Arches National Park) courtesy Adam Fricke

Outdoor Photography Tips: How to Take Pictures of the Stars

Visit 12 National Parks Along the National Park to Park Highway

How to Make Star Gazing a Fun Family Activity
Adam Fricke
posted by
Adam Fricke
As a member of #TeamSierra, Adam Fricke receives promotional consideration from Sierra Trading Post. Instead of settling into a comfortable desk job as a recent college grad, Adam opted for the ups and downs of vanlife. Currently living in a Sprinter van with his brother, he is pursuing a freelance career as a photographer, filmmaker, and writer. You can follow Adam's journey across all 50 states via social media @adamfricke or on his personal blog www.AdamFricke.com.
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Comments (3)
MIKE HARVEY
10/15/2016 at 8:10 AM
Isle Royale National Park, in the middle of Lake Superior, should have been included. No ambient light and a great spot to see the Northern Lights.
  • I've heard epic things about Isle Royale! Any specific spots you'd recommend? One of these days I'll make it out there myself.
    Comment made on 10/15/2016 by Adam Fricke from The Open Road
MIKE S.
10/18/2016 at 10:10 AM
How could you not include Bryce Canyon? Its ranked like 2 or 3 in the world!
ANDY
4/19/2017 at 9:57 PM
What about capitol reef national park. Also very good dark skys!
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