Colorado is a great playground for outdoor activities. It has mountainous landscapes to explore by day and dark skies for stargazing at night. There are many locations across Colorado for perfect stargazing opportunities. Nothing quite beats looking up to the star specked night sky. Here are our favorite stargazing locations.
THE BEST STARGAZING LOCATIONS IN COLORADO
1 Black Canyon Gunnison National Park Montrose
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has always been an incredible location to see the stars. In 2015 it officially received the title of International Dark Sky Park. With its majestic canyons, it’s the perfect backdrop for visitors who wish to spend a night amongst the stars. The Black Canyon Astronomical Society, in partnership with local star-gazing groups, regularly leads night-time programmes with experienced astronomers and astro-photographers to capture the action in the night sky.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison is one of the most under-rated national parks in the United States. So it offers solitude whilst camping under the stars.
2 Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs
The Garden of the Gods is located far enough from city lights for a clear view of the night sky. Yet it is also a short distance to the cultural hub of Colorado Springs, so you can enjoy visiting Colorado Springs in the day. The vast space at Garden of the Gods provides visitors with a perfect view of the starry sky, which lights up the summit of Pikes Peak.
The unusual large sandstone red rock formations set the scene for an enchanting night of stargazing. Travelers can lie back and admire the constellations. Colorado Springs also has an Astronomical Society which holds public stargazing events. These are known as Public Star Parties.
3 Grand Lake
Grand Lake is ideal for spotting the constellations amongst the stars. Whether stargazers are searching for Cassiopeia or the Big Dipper, minimal obstacles stand in the way of catching a glimpse of these. This is because the pollution levels in Colorado are extremely low. Known as the Western Gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Lake has a charming lakeside setting with quaint cabins lining the shore. It is also the largest natural lake in Colorado. In the winter months, visitors can ice skate under thesky or take part in night skiing at Ski Granby Ranch.
4 Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Alamosa
The largest sand dunes in the United States are at Great Sand Dunes National Parkand Preserve. These sand dunes are an attraction in the daytime; but these become even more mysterious at night. This is one of the only wild places in the world where rangers actively encourage visitors to do a self-guided exploration in complete darkness.
Explorers should plan their visit to coincide with a full moon to hike without the aid of a torch light. Travelers can also spot many local wildlife including owls, kangaroo rats, and coyotes.
5 Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre Denver
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre provides visitors with the opportunity to watch some of the biggest musical stars live onstage. It also has an incredible night sky framed by the park’s natural red rock topography and views of Denver’s skyline in the distance.
6 Rocky Mountain National Park Estes Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is Colorado’s most popular national park. In the summer months, a team of park rangers lead after-dark activities such as Astronomy in the Park and Stories behind the Moon and Stars. The pinnacle of the park’s stargazing events is the Rocky National Park Night Sky Festival. During this three-day festival, park rangers host late-night stargazing, as well as a daily show called Spirit of the Mountains.
7 San Luis Valley
San Luis Valley is a great location for stargazing. But locals also claim it’s a hot spot for alien sightings and alien activity. Dozens of unexplained flying objects have been sighted in the area since 2007 with the nearby watchtower providing information on previous extra-terrestrial encounters. The unobstructed views of the sky without any light competition means there isn’t anything getting in the way of the starry night-time show.