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10 Places to Go Stargazing in Southern Utah

Home to 9 qualified International Dark Sky Parks and numerous spaces of herbal darkness, Utah is readily turning into probably the most widespread states for evening sky gazers. With probably the most darkest skies in the rustic, Cedar City and the encompassing house provides a number of alternatives to see and discover the evening sky.

If you end up questioning the place to pass to get nice photos of astronomical gadgets, or to take photos of the evening sky, or simply to gaze on the stars, listed here are 10 spots to to find darkish evening skies in southern Utah. (Click hyperlink titles for instructions).


1. Cedar Breaks National Monument

Nestled at the fringe of the Markagunt Plateau, this massive amphitheater (over 2,500 toes deep and greater than 3 miles throughout) is breathtaking all over the day, however wait till you notice it at evening. Just 25 mins east of Cedar City, Cedar Breaks National Monument towers above 10,000 toes and the upper altitude permits for unbelievably transparent perspectives of the evening sky.

Officially designated an International Dark Sky Park in 2017, Cedar Breaks National Monument is located in one of the most greatest areas of final herbal darkness in the decrease 48 U.S. states.

To have fun the evening sky, Cedar Breaks hosts a series of Star Parties at Point Supreme Saturday nights starting in July and operating thru Labor Day weekend. Star Parties are unfastened and come with constellation excursions, unbeatable perspectives in the course of the park’s telescopes and now and again, wonderful moments just like the Perseid meteor bathe.


brian-head-starry-night-292528-edited(Image from KMR Tours blog)

2. Brian Head Resort

Because get entry to to Cedar Breaks National Monument is proscribed in the wintry weather, the park carrier groups up with Brian Head Resort to host a sequence of superstar events all over the wintry weather season. These are ranger-led superstar events that include telescopes and enthusiastic darkish sky astronomers.

Brian Head is the very best spot for wintry weather stargazing, it’s simply out there, there are puts to get heat, guides are to be had to sing their own praises the evening sky and it’s simply 45 mins away. Just you should definitely get dressed heat, temperatures can drop lovely low in the wintry weather months.



3. Ashcroft Observatory

In conserving with a long-standing custom stemming from its opening in the early 1970s, the Ashcroft Observatory stays all in favour of neighborhood involvement and studying alternatives. Open each and every Monday evening to all the ones in studying about constellations or viewing far away portions of the galaxy, visiting the Observatory is superb for varsity teams, scout teams and households, however all are welcome and inspired to benefit from the splendor in the skies.

Interested events must plan on arriving on the observatory simply because the solar units. As climate or different prerequisites may adjust this agenda, prior to using out, please take a look at the Ashcroft Observatory Facebook page to verify they’re open.



(Image from @pagrimes)

4. Three Peaks Recreation Area

The rolling hills and volcanic rock formations of Three Peaks Recreation Area supply an incredible location for outside sport. Only 11 miles from Cedar City, Three Peaks is the nearest and most simply out there house for darkish sky pleasant occasions. The house comprises campsites, hearth pits, tables for picnics, and outhouses. The simplest problem, the realm does no longer be offering excellent shielding from the japanese sky, and maximum pictures should be performed directly up or against the west.



(Image from @pagrimes)

5. Parowan Gap

Known for the loads of American Indian rock carvings (petroglyphs) which might be etched into its partitions, Parowan Gap is a herbal passageway that used to be as soon as used as a big thoroughfare by means of historical Native Americans. Beyond the rocks, Parowan Gap provides a dismal house inside of 20 mins of Cedar City this is easiest for stargazing.

If you have an interest in greater than darkish skies, a number of interpretive systems and sun statement occasions happen at Parowan Gap all through the yr. These occasions occur in conjunction with the summer time and wintry weather solstices and spring and fall equinoxes and will also be discovered on Visit Cedar City’s calendar of events.

Navajo Lake 8.3.18-12018-069826-edited

5. Navajo Lake

Formed when an historical lava float dammed the japanese facet of the valley, Navajo Lake rests on a mattress of limestone and drains thru underground tunnels. Surrounded by means of Dixie National Forest, Navajo Lake is the very best position for darkish skies mirrored in a wooded area lake.

Navajo Lake Campground, positioned at the shores of Navajo Lake, supplies a impressive surroundings for boating, tenting, fishing, mountain climbing, and the danger to keep in a single day and watch the celebs.



6. Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park

Kolob Canyons, the northwest nook and little identified portion of Zion National Park, is house to rugged, crimson, Navajo sandstone canyons, identical to the principle park. Also house to numerous animal and plant lifestyles, Kolob Canyons is non violent and serene.

Because of the encompassing hills and total darkish location, Kolob Canyons provides wonderful perspectives of the evening sky and Milky Way. At the tip of the Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive, the majestic crimson cliffs of Kolob shine even brighter at sundown. This could also be a excellent position for viewing the stars–look eastward towards the cliffs for the darkest skies.

Many Zion National Park guests like to keep for sundown, however for the ones few who keep later, or spend the evening in one of the most campgrounds, a wholly other and noteworthy Zion enjoy awaits: the darkish evening sky, stuffed with hundreds of stars, above the jagged silhouette of cliffs.



(Image from alierturk on DeviantArt)

7. Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is without equal position to be told in regards to the splendor of the evening sky. Far from the sunshine air pollution of civilization, and safe by means of a unique power of park rangers and volunteer astronomers, Bryce Canyon is a sanctuary of herbal darkness.

The park is open 24 hours an afternoon, year-round, and hosts public stargazing, and an annual astronomy pageant. No discuss with to Bryce Canyon is whole with out becoming a member of the Astronomy Rangers for certainly one of their educational and entertaining celebrations of natural darkness. You’ll desire a lottery price ticket sign up for certainly one of Bryce’s monthly full moon hikes, nevertheless it’s value appearing up for the danger to take a guided excursion of the sandstone formations and the sky’s 7,500+ visual stars.



8. Capitol Reef National Park and Torrey

Utah’s hidden gem of a countrywide park, Capitol Reef, is nearly like a planet unto itself. Here you get an actual really feel for what the earth may were like thousands and thousands of years prior to lifestyles seemed, when not anything existed however earth and sky. Stay up for evening skies in a land like no different. Pair your discuss with with a discuss with to Torrey, an authorized Dark Sky Community.

Located simply 8 miles from the west front of Capitol Reef National Park, Torrey is an idyllic little tree-lined, high-elevation the town at the Capitol Reef Country Scenic Byway (S.R. 24) surrounded by means of rose-colored cliffs and inexperienced meadows. The the town got here in combination to offer protection to its evening skies by means of bettering outside lights ordinances and retrofitting dark-sky compliant outside lights to decrease gentle air pollution and make stronger the city’s already shut courting with nature, position and the universe.



9. Great Basin National Park

Technically no longer in southern Utah, Great Basin National Park is just a brief two hour force from Cedar City and has mainly the darkest skies in the country. An International Dark Sky Park, Great Basin National Park supplies outstanding and important alternatives to enjoy darkish nights. On a transparent, moonless evening, hundreds of stars, 5 of our sun machine’s 8 planets, superstar clusters, meteors, man-made satellites, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Milky Way will also be noticed with the bare eye. The house boasts probably the most darkest evening skies left in the United States. Low humidity and minimum gentle air pollution, blended with excessive elevation, create a novel window to the universe.

Beyond stargazing, Great Basin most often provides astronomy systems April thru October on Saturday nights, with further Tuesday and Thursday evening systems all over the summer time. On summer time nights when the moon is simply too shiny for our common astronomy systems, sign up for a dismal ranger for a full moon hike, and no longer to neglected are the Nevada Northern Railway Star Train and the annual Astronomy Festival.



10. Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley State Park is not like some other position in the arena — and a spot that captures and stretches the creativeness, difficult you with its geologic whimsy. Free of any vital resources of sunshine air pollution, Goblin Valley is house to one of the most clearest, darkest evening skies in the arena. Open day by day till 10:00 p.m. and residential to 24 campsites and two yurts for in a single day visitors.


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