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Best Places to Stargaze in the United States

Best Places to Stargaze in the United States

The moment your pop up truck camper is set up, the fire is lit, and the stars arrive, is one of the best feelings, especially on those warm summer nights when you can watch the Milky Way for hours. It feels as if the world pauses and you can recognize how important the little moments are. 

If you love star chasing in your pop up truck camper, you’ve come to the right place! Here are the best places to stargaze in the United States: 

best places to stargaze in the united states

Best Places to Stargaze in the United States

1. Ruby Mountains Wilderness, Nevada 

On a route note frequented by most western road trippers, the Ruby Mountain Wilderness is wild, remote, and stunning. It’s located just outside of the northern Nevada town of Elko, roughly halfway between Salt Lake City and Reno. The wilderness area encompasses nearly 90,000 acres of land, but the remoteness of this area stretches for hundreds of miles in every direction, making it perfect for a stargazing adventure. Even in the peak of summer, this area is overlooked by most, making it accessible and uncrowded compared to most mountainous areas in the west. 

2. Superior National Forest, Minnesota 

If trekking north to the land of ‘eh’ and the state of 10,000 lakes, Superior National Forest in Minnesota is an ideal stargazing location. The national forest offers endless options for dispersed & organized camping. At night, watch the Milky Way stretch across the sky, during the day, explore scenic nearby areas such as Lake Superior and Palisade Head Historical Marker. If you are a lover of fall colors, early October is the best time to visit! 

best places to stargaze in the united states

3. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Montana

Located on the border between Wyoming and Montana, Big Horn Canyon National Recreation area is one of the most scenic and overlooked locations in the United States. Just a few hours from Yellowstone National Park, take a detour to experience the true wild and untamed west. Even during peak summer months where millions of visitors are flocking around Yellowstone, Big Horn Canyon will see only a handful of daily visitors. You’ll be impressed both by the scenery and the nighttime sky! 

4. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah 

In 2019, Bryce Canyon National Park became an International Dark Sky Park due to its elevation, remoteness in southern Utah, and often clear skies. The park is open 24 hours a day, welcoming visitors both day and night to enjoy its natural beauty. Check out the stars at sunrise point, and then stay for sunrise! It is highly recommended to visit the park during meteor showers, as it is one of the best places to view it in the country. The park also offers Night Sky Telescope Programs and guided full-moon hiking adventures!  

best places to stargaze in the united states

5. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

A small island in the middle of Lake Superior, the light pollution on Isle Royale National Park is slim to none. Isle Royale is the least visited national park in the country, and once you start researching, you’ll understand why. It’s a long journey in your truck camper to get to the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, where the ferry leaves for the island. Once you board the ferry, it’s an additional 6 hours to reach it. But with great effort comes incredible reward. Check the toughest national park to visit off your list, sleep under millions of stars, and enjoy true northern wilderness. 

6.  Big Bend National Park, Texas 

On the opposite side of the country, Big Bend National Park is another remote destination with big stargazing rewards. During summer months, temperatures often rise to 100+ degrees, making fall and spring a better time to visit. Located in southern Texas near the Mexican border, the national park is desolate & spared from almost any light pollution. You won’t likely find a five-star hotel here, but instead, a five million-star hotel just steps outside your pop up camper. 

best places to stargaze in the united states

7. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 

Yellowstone National Park is also a designated Dark Sky Park, and the grand scale of this 3,471 protected area makes it one of the best places to stargaze in the United States. Like Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone is open 24 hours/day for visitors to drive through and stop to view the stars. However, here, it’s important to remember to be prepared for wildlife! Bison, bears, and wolves, all call the park home. Day or night, carry bear spray, and never set up your truck camper outside designated campgrounds. 

8. Baxter State Park, Maine 

Located in north-central Maine, Baxter State Park is home to the hundred-mile wilderness, Mt. Katahdin, and the finish of the Appalachian Trail. The park is remote, dark, and perfect for camping in your truck camper or heading out on a backcountry stargazing adventure. The best time to stargaze here is May – October when temperatures are mild and roads/trails accessible.

best places to stargaze in the united states

9. White Sands National Park, New Mexico 
White Sands National Park is a camper favorite no matter the time of day. Once the sun sets, the soft, sandy dunes are the perfect place for a stargazing date. Pack a blanket, some snacks, and maybe a bottle of wine, and set up a nighttime picnic among the dunes and the stars. Unlike some other national parks that are open 24 hours/day, White Sands National Park requires a permit to enter before sunrise or stay after sunset. You can learn everything you need to know about entering early or staying late here

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