Photo: Under Lucky Stars
There are so many reasons to love our national parks, including the natural beauty, the history and the parkitecture. But the opportunities to take advantage of them don’t end when the sun goes down: several national parks are also great spots to take in the night sky. But which ones are the best?
If you like astronomy and are in the mood for a road trip (or at least planning one), you may be interested to know that you’re more likely to catch a glimpse of the stars and planets from a handful of parks. Here are the top 10 national parks for stargazing in the United States.
The parks with the best stars
Following an analysis of 62 national parks across America, Under Lucky Stars, a star map company, has released a guide to the best parks for stargazing. The parks are ranked according to the number of visitors, accessibility and the light pollution.
The top 10 national parks for stargazing (in order of ranking) are Great Basin (Nevada), Big Bend (Texas), Redwood (California), North Cascades (Washington), Voyageurs (Minnesota), Lassen Volcanic (California), Guadalupe Mountains (Texas), Great Sand Dunes (Colorado), Crater Lake (Oregon) and Canyonlands (Utah). More information on each park can be found in this chart (FYI, the Bortle Scale measures light pollution):
Screenshot: Under Lucky Stars
Other features on the website
This guide involves more than a list of the top 10 parks—it provides information on all 62 of the parks that were analyzed. If you’re interested in planning a trip around stargazing at parks, the site also features a location-based search, so users can compare the closest parks to where they live to help determine where they’ll go next. Or, there’s an interactive map on the guide’s home page where you can check out your options based on geographic location.