Colorado is a playground of outdoor activities for intrepid explorers, with mountainous landscapes to traverse by day and dark skies for stargazing at night. There is an abundance of locations across the state to provide travel lovers with the perfect stargazing opportunity, from live music venue, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, to the peaceful San Luis Valley. Nothing quite beats looking up to the star specked night sky on your Colorado trip.
Travel to some of these top locations listed below for some unforgettable starry skies on your Colorado trip:
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Montrose
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has always been an incredible location to see the stars and in 2015 it officially received the title of International Dark Sky Park, with its majestic canyons being the perfect backdrop for visitors to spend a night amongst the constellations.
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. As one of the most under-rated national parks in the US, Black Canyon of the Gunnison offers solitude whilst camping under the stars, with three campgrounds for travel lovers to pitch up in.
Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs
Located far enough from city lights for a clear view of the night sky, yet a short distance to the cultural hub of Colorado Springs to enjoy in the day, the vast space at Garden of the Gods provides travel lovers with a perfect view of the starry sky, which lights up the summit of the 14,114ft Pikes Peak against a backdrop of towering boulders.
The unusual large sandstone red rock formations set the scene for an enchanting night of stargazing in which travellers can lie back and admire the constellations. Colorado Springs also has an Astronomical Society which holds public stargazing events – also known as Public Star Parties – in which telescopes are set up for visitors to view planets, galaxies and star clusters.
The namesake lake of 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 views as light pollution levels in the region 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 of the state’s largest natural lake. In the winter months, you can ice skate under the star-lit sky or take part in night skiing at Ski Granby Ranch.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Alamosa
The USA’s largest sand dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve provide travel lovers with a rare spectacle during the day and by night become even more mysterious.
As one of the only wild places in the world where rangers actively encourage visitors to do a self-guided exploration in complete darkness, intrepid explorers should plan their visit to coincide with a full moon to hike without the aid of a torch. In addition to the night sky, travellers can spot an array of local wildlife at night, including owls, kangaroo rats, and coyotes.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, Denver
Not only does Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre provide travel lovers with the opportunity to watch some of the biggest musical stars live on stage, it also has an incredible night sky which hosts its own set of stars every single night. Framed by the park’s natural red rock topography and views of Denver’s skyline in the distance, the amphitheatre has all the ingredients for an incredible night of stargazing.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park
Travellers can gaze up to the night sky in Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado’s most popular National Park – and watch the stars whilst looking across the park’s renowned landscape.
During 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 parks stargazing events is held in July during the Rocky National Park Night Sky Festival – over the course of three days – as park rangers host late-night stargazing, as well as a daily show, Spirit of the Mountains. Don’t miss this spectacle on your Colorado trip.
San Luis Valley
San Luis Valley is not only a great location for stargazing, locals also claim it’s a hot spot for 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.
Find more information to plan your Colorado trip on their official website.