Unveiling the Best Stargazing Spots in Colorado

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If the recent solar eclipse got you or your family excited about astronomy, Colorado is the place to be! Our state has earned a reputation as a celestial playground for stargazers. While it’s often celebrated for breathtaking landscapes, the high altitude, clear skies, and several places that offer little artificial light sources provide an unparalleled canvas for observing the night sky. Whether you’re an amateur astronomer or a casual sky-watcher, here are some of the best places for stargazing in Colorado.

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Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Sitting against the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve boasts some of the darkest skies in the state. Away from city lights, the dunes provide a surreal setting for stargazing. Visitors can witness the Milky Way stretching across the sky, and during certain times of the year, catch meteor showers and celestial events with unparalleled clarity. The park is open 24/7 year-round and there are no limitations, timed entries, or reservations to visit. This park is designated as an International Dark Sky Park (IDSP).

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Known for its dramatic and deep canyon walls, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a hidden gem for stargazers. Also designated as an IDSP, this location offers unparalleled views of the cosmos. The South Rim Campground is a favorite spot for setting up telescopes and observing constellations, planets, and the mesmerizing dance of satellites. There are road closures in the park during the winter months, so be sure to check the website to plan your to visit. 

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Great Plains of Eastern Colorado

For those seeking expansive horizons and minimal light pollution, the eastern plains of Colorado offer an unexpected haven for stargazing. Towns such as Limon and Burlington provide easy access to wide-open spaces where the Milky Way arches overhead. The simplicity of the landscape allows for a clear view of celestial wonders, and on a moonless night, the stars seem to multiply in brilliance.

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Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

While renowned for its ancient, fossilized trees, the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is a prime location for stargazing. Located one hour west of Colorado Springs, the monument frequently hosts Night Sky Programs, allowing visitors to explore the night sky with the guidance of experienced astronomers. Surrounded by the beauty of nature, attendees can enjoy a celestial experience enriched with educational insights. Call ahead of your visit as stargazing is weather dependent. The Monument can be reached at (719) 748-3253.

Colorado’s diverse landscapes and commitment to preserving its natural beauty make it a stargazing paradise. Whether you venture into the eastern plains or find solace in the Black Canyon, the state’s numerous stargazing spots offer a glimpse into the vast wonders of the universe. As you explore these celestial havens, remember to pack warm clothes, a telescope or binoculars, and a sense of wonder.

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