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Top 6 State Parks for Stargazing​

​​​​​​​​​​​​It’s easy to forget that endless treasures occupy the sky above us every night! 

Stargazing has always been a pastime and a learning opportunity, and there are more tools and resources for trying it out now than ever before! Beginners can start off with books, binoculars and planispheres to get going in identifying constellations and celestial bodies. For experienced astronomers, packing up the telescope and heading to a park opens a whole world of opportunity. 

Even if the identification aspect isn’t for you, stargazing is a wonderful way to reconnect with nature and gain some perspective. Sometimes a getaway is necessary, even just for an evening. Take a drive to any Colorado State Park that allows visitors after sunset, spread out with a blanket and picnic, and stare into the magnificent sky. Insects like to come out in the evening, so bug repellent is recommended. Remember that Colorado gets chilly after sundown, especially at high altitude, so be sure to bundle up! 

6. Ridgway

Head to Ridgway for amazing expanses of clear skies over incredible mountain views. You might catch the best views from Dakota Terraces Campground, but for a more luxurious experience, check out one of Ridgway’s yurts! Ask park staff about upcoming stargazing events, which feature members of the Astronomer Society and instruction on telescope use!​​

5. Eleven Mile

Camp out in your tent or RV at Eleven Mile to catch clear skies over the shimmering reservoir. There’s plenty of space for a telescope! Bring a constellation identification book along and see how many you can spot. Enjoy the peace and quiet of the secluded Stoll Mountain or Cross Creek campgrounds. Doesn’t the night sky make you feel small?

4.  Crawford

Enjoy recently updated camping facilities at Crawford State Park! Right in the middle of cattle country, Crawford enjoys very little light pollution and clear skies. Stargazing allows excellent learning opportunities for children and a chance to remind them how fascinating science can be. Some parks even offer programs specifically geared toward young learners! Show up before sundown for the show of a lifetime, and don’t forget the camera!​

3. Highline Lake

Park in one of Highline’s many lots and lie out on a truck bed, or rent a campsite for the night! The park’s trails and wildlife will keep any adventurer entertained during the day, and the sky puts on a dazzling show each evening. Take a few deep breaths and enjoy the magnificent colors and stunning stars. Highline Lake occasionally hosts Star Parties, where local experts share knowledge and use of their telescopes; talk with park staff about upcoming events.

2. State Forest

Bundle up and get away from it all under a heavy blanket of twinkling stars at State Forest. Pack your binoculars and planisphere to help you get started identifying the constellations! Experienced astronomers recommend keeping a journal of everything you see. Get a new hobby started or sharpen those scientist skills! Stargazing is the ideal mix of learning and relaxing.

1. Navajo

For us, Navajo State Park takes the cake! Light pollution is almost nonexistent under the thick smattering of stars. It’s just you and the constellations; sit back and enjoy the serenity. If you stare long enough, you might even catch a glimpse of a shooting star.

Educational events and telescope trainings take place at various state parks throughout the year. Chat with park staff to learn about upcoming events and for pointers on the best spots to scope out some constellations! ​