Stargazing in Nevada

Want to cast your gaze upon something truly otherworldly? Nevada is home to some of the darkest skies in the world, meaning stargazing opportunities await in every corner of the state. Camp out in Great Basin National Park (rallying cry: “Half the Park is After Dark”) or explore warm evenings in Death Valley National Park—both of which proudly qualify as International Dark Sky Parks touting Dark Sky Rangers (our version of park rangers) and astronomy festivals that speak to everyone from casual stargazers and amateur astronomers to professional scientists alike.

Your typical night stargazing in Nevada? On moonless nights, all you’ve gotta do is look up, and you’ll be rewarded with thousands of stars, entire constellations, planets, nebulas, and galaxies, usually visible to the naked eye. Even in Nevada’s metro areas like Reno or Las Vegas (the brightest place on Earth), all it takes is about a 30-minute drive to find a front-row seat for a celestial show. However, the deeper you delve into rural Nevada, you’ll find the best places to stargaze in the Silver State—and maybe even find yourself in the darkest place in Nevada.

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darkest place in nevada

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Whether it’s the newest item on your bucket list or the best wrong turn you ever took, whichever corner of this state you venture to, you’re bound to uncover the kind of unexpected encounters, memorable characters, and only-in-Nevada experiences that make this place so damn special. Get your hands on stunning images, surprising stories, colorful characters, do-before-you-die events, and beyond. And just to sweeten the deal, in addition to sending you our official Nevada Visitors Guide, we’ll throw in our swanky state map, too.

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Darkest Place in Nevada

Nevada’s night skies delight in every season. But if you’re craving something truly spectacular, treat yourself to a magnificent glimpse of the Milky Way. From May to September, the Milky Way’s galactic center is on full display, with swirling kaleidoscopic greens, oranges, yellows, and blues visible from all corners of Nevada.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Want to really get into your elements? Few things are better than admiring the heart of our own galaxy. And there’s nowhere better to do it than right here in the shimmering Silver State.

So, what’s the darkest place in Nevada? That depends… 

Many visitors look to our skies and think they see, well, other types of visitors—especially beneath another storied Nevada dark sky found along the aptly named Extraterrestrial Highway. Keep your eyes peeled for UFOs, satellites, and shooting stars, then cruise a little further west to find another holy grail stargazing favorite at the Tonopah Stargazing Park—in the town ranked as the best one to stargaze in by USA Today. Visit Great Basin National Park and stop by their Astronomy Amphitheater to glimpse the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies during Dark Sky Ranger talks, especially during September’s Great Basin Astronomy Festival (when they bring out the big glass). Or take a ride on Ely’s famous Star Train and Sunset, Stars & Champagne Train to learn more about the astronomical world swirling above you in the night sky from a historic steam locomotive. Got a 4×4 rig? Travel to the Massacre Rim Wilderness Study Area, one of the only spots in the United States recognized as a dark sky sanctuary with absolutely zero light pollution, and camp next door at the neighboring Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge for a whole night under the stars. No matter where you choose to kick back, stretch out, and look up, our skies are always here—and always open.

#TravelNevada

Had an out-of-this world experience in the Silver State? Tag #TravelNevada to help us show off the best stargazing in the USA. If we love your photo, you may find it featured here.

A tired man watching the Milky Way rise through the Vegas city lights in the distance
#photography #landscapephotography #milkyway #pahrump #nevada #astrophotography
Gold Mining and Reaching for the Stars! Tribute to Shorty Harris statues by Fred Bervorts, with a Prospector and a Penguin, and Star Trails at the Goldwell Open Air Museum at the Rhyolite Ghost Town in Beatty, NV. Taken on June 20, 2020 during our Star Trails and Light Painting in Death Valley Night Photography Workshop with creativephotoacademy, led by Instructors cassonephotography and redheadkatrina. Keep on reaching for the Stars and have a Terrific Thursday, everyone! 🌠👥📷 
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STACKED
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Nikon D810 
Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 
14mm at f/2.8 

June 20, 2020 between 8:48 PM and 9:40 PM, for a total of 1 hour and 8 minutes. 
34 pictures stacked and edited in Lightroom and Photoshop.

For all 34 Star Trail exposures, 90 seconds each at ISO 400.
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#deathvalley #deathvalleynationalpark deathvalleynps #deathvalleylove #nationalparklife #rhyolite #rhyoliteghosttown #beatty #nevada #goldwellopenairmuseum goldwellmuseum #tributetoshortyharris #creativephotoacademy creativephotoacademy #paulsphoto pauls.photo #cpadvjune2020 #startrails #startrailchasers startrailchasers #ig_startrails #longexposure_shots #raw_nightshots #raw_longexposure #raw_community_member #exploredesertcities exploredesertcities #onceupon_the_earth #onlyinnevada only_in_nevada #abc7eyewitness #cbsla #nbcla #nikond810 #nikkor1424 #nikonnofilter #nikonlove
Excited for our next stargazing adventure! #laketahoebucketlist .
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#ledkayak #tahoestars #stargazing #laketahoe #tahoenightlife #bucketlist #luxurytravel #wonderlust #californiatravel #travelnevada photo 📷 brian.walker
The Universe out here making magic 
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#aurora #solarstorm #color #auroraborealis #milkway #road #roadtrip #nikon #nikonoutdoors #hike #hikingadventures #hiking #hikingbangers #valleyoffire #vegas #photography #astrophotography #leavenotrace #stars #darkskies #travelnevada #onlyinnv #landscapephotography
Hardest part about shooting the Milky Way...getting the courage to go sit outside in the dark by yourself for 1-3 hours during the middle of the night.
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#nightscape #nightphotography #milkywaychasers #milkywayphotography #astrophotography #longexpoelite #nightsky #nightskyphotography #travelnevada #nvstateparks #cathedralgorge #outdoortones #outside_project #outdooradventures #wildernesstones #wildernessnation #idratherbeinnature #justgoshoot #sonyalpha #createcommune #bealpha #creativetones #artofvisuals #bevisuallyinspired #marvelshots #sonyimages #sonyworldclub #yourshotphotographer
With many key sites in California still closed to us, it’s Nevada for the win!
I never get tired of these shots! #astrophotography #milkyway #travelnevada #nevada
Aurora only showed herself for a few minutes last night, but we did get a fireworks show to make up for her fleeting visit. 
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#auroraborealis #northernlights #astrophotography #sandmountain #nevadaskies #starrynights #fireworks #travelnevada #moonshotdesignlab #nikonz8
Come visit the Las Vegas Astronomical Society this Friday night for some professional guided star (and moon) gazing!
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#retreatoncharlestonpeak #theretreat #nevada #mtcharleston #mountcharleston #gomtcharleston #findyourpark #travelnevada #explorenevada #naturalnevada #onlyinnv #visitlasvegas #getaway #mountaingetaway #mountainlodge #boutiquehotel #tripadvisor #tripadvisornevada #tripadvisorlasvegas #lasvegastripadvisor #vegastripadvisor #groupon #groupondeal #expedia #underthestars #stargazing #stars #staycation #offthestrip #beyondthestrip
Stargazing and looking for meteors at the Seven Magic Mountains ☄️🌌 You don’t have to wonder too far from Vegas to catch the meteors. Grab a chair and a few jackets cause it gets 🥶 Shouts to jennayyyyye for helpin me achieve these effects 🔥📸

#astrophotography #travelnevada #sevenmagicmountains #meteorshower
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