Top 6 Colorado Stargazing Locations
When the sun sets and the skies deepen into a velvety canvas, Colorado’s vast open spaces become a sanctuary for Colorado stargazing enthusiasts. From the iconic peaks to secluded sanctuaries, the state offers a front-row seat to the breathtaking spectacle of the cosmos. In this guide, we’ll unveil the best spots for Colorado stargazing, including its revered Dark Sky Parks, where the universe paints its masterpiece against the night sky.
About Colorado Dark Sky Parks
Colorado Dark Sky Parks offer protected lands with very little – if any – light pollution, giving viewers unadulterated night skyscapes. Communities and parks can be designated as dark sky compliant by regulating types of lighting and fixtures including blue light from signage. The official designation comes from the International Dark-Sky Association and is considered an honor to receive such a status. Dark sky parks and communities help protect awe inspiring beauty for our future generations.
Top Areas for the Best Stargazing in Colorado
1. The Great Sand Dunes National Park
The Great Sand Dunes National Park can seem pretty lunar in itself, with heaping mountains of sand to explore. Add in a full moon and one can roam the dunes for a naturally lit night hike. For optimal stargazing in Colorado, try to visit during a new moon! See breathtaking views of the Milky Way and constellations without any light interference. The Sand Dunes also offers an exciting opportunity to see local wildlife! There are a number of programs available during the summer for guided gazing experiences.
2. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park received its official Dark Sky Park designation in 2015, making it one of the most iconic stargazing places in Colorado. The National Park features dramatic landscapes and gets its “Black Canyon” name from the shadows cast on the walls and cliffs of the canyon. The Gunnison National Park hosts the Black Canyon Astronomy Festival every September in a partnership with the Black Canyon Astronomical Society. The festival highlights viewing and educational sessions on various public lands in and around the park.
3. Chimney Rock National Monument
Chimney Rock National Monument just outside of Pagosa Springs features a unique blend of nature and culture. Visit the ancient Ancestral Puebloan archaeological ruins by day and by night learn how peoples of the area used the night sky to navigate and communicate across the Southwest. With fascinating insight into ancestral wisdom, viewers can learn timekeeping techniques and how the Puebloans used the night sky for spiritual guidance. The unique Night Sky programs are fascinating for all ages and makes Chimney Rock National Monument a must for some of the best stargazing in Colorado. Make a weekend of your star gazing adventure by driving about 20 minutes to Pagosa Springs. There you can have fun on the river with tube rentals Pagosa Springs or enjoy soaking in nearby hot springs.
Colorado’s stargazing destinations invite you to cast your eyes skyward and embrace the wonder of the universe. From Dark Sky Parks to panoramic mountain vistas, the state’s celestial treasures await your exploration, offering a glimpse into the infinite beauty of the cosmos.
Over a decade ago, when we first started Pagosa Outside, our aspirations were rather humble. Our primary objective was simple: to offer our guests rafting and tubing experience that we would proudly invite our own friends and family to join. If you find yourself in Pagosa Springs, we’d love to take you on a river adventure. Happy exploring!