Stargazing in the Nation’s Best Spots

October 22nd, 2011

Nature, Outdoor adventures

Southern Utah has some of the best stargazing sites in the United States. We at the Lodge at Red River Ranch encourage our guests, and all visitors, to step outside and look up. While many places are good for stargazing, we’ve picked the three that stand out for low light pollution, scenery, popularity, and accessibility. If you’re in the neighborhood, try some stargazing at these spots.

Kolob Canyon, Zion National Park – Kolob Canyon is a 5-mile road that climbs over 1,000 feet. At the top is a perfect place to stop, get out, and gaze at the stars. Kolob Canyon is one of our favorite scenic drives, day or night. Consider stopping by next time you’re driving to Saint George.

Natural Bridges National Monument – this is actually the world’s first international dark sky place, so it stands to reason that it makes for some good stargazing. In addition to the brilliant night sky, the monument boasts some of the largest freestanding bridges in the world. This is a great place to spend a day, and of course, a night. We at the Lodge recommend going in August. Natural Bridges is never very crowded – no need to worry about summer tourist crunch – and the meteor showers are the best in August.

Capitol Reef National Park – we may be a little biased, but Capitol Reef has some awesome places for stargazing. During the tourist season rangers, or visiting astronomers, lead guided tours of the sky. If you travel south, into the Waterpocket Fold, you will experience the vastness of the un-obscured desert night. We highly recommend that you bring a stargazing chart with you on any trip to Capitol Reef.

There are, obviously, hundreds of other great stargazing sites. Talk to us if you want to know where some of the others are.

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