Back in the old days, deep, dark skies were the norm. But as the march of progress brought cities and artificial lighting to the masses, the world’s darkest skies began to recede. Today, they’re so rare that we have a designation for such places where you can see the Milky Way and other celestial wonders with the naked eye: certified dark sky parks, reserves, and sanctuaries. Fortunately, Nevada is home to several of them — and that means serious stargazing is possible in various parts of the state.
Dark Sky Parks in Nevada
Visit Some of The Darkest Places in the U.S.
With some of the darkest night skies in the country, Nevada has managed to escape the encroaching light pollution issues the majority of states are plagued with. Check out the 7,000 stars visible to the naked eye in Tonopah, or see the stars and planets of the Milky Way like you’ve never seen them before in Great Basin National Park, one of the least crowded International Dark Sky Parks in North America. If you catch it on the right night, you can watch meteor showers with a front-row view. You make the judgment call if what you’re seeing is a satellite or a flying saucer near Area 51. Whether you explore five miles, or all 110,567 square miles of our state, one night spent on our turf and you’ll see why we’re rated the #1 Stargazing Destination in America by USA Today.
Spend a Night Under The Stars
If you want to camp in a place with little to no light pollution, you’ll want to take into consideration the time of year you’re visiting. As you can imagine, a state as geographically large and diverse as Nevada experiences four different seasons — sometimes even in the same day! Nevada’s camping hotspots can be visited any time of year if you plan right and the weather cooperates. After all, there’s so much more time to explore the night skies when the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun.
Stargazing Camping Locations in Nevada
We’ve put together a handy guide to the best camping spots in Nevada along with full descriptions, road conditions, amenities, and best times of year to visit. Some of the top spots you’ll find there include Cathedral Gorge State Park between Pioche and Caliente, Jarbidge Wilderness Area north of Elko, Angel Lake near Wells, Death Valley National Park on the southern Nevada/California border, and many more. In each of these locations, you’ll find outstanding views of the night sky and, if you’re lucky, you might catch a shooting star — or maybe a couple dozen.
Go Ahead, Gaze Away
Dark Skies Finder
With millions of acres of rugged, untamed wilderness, and thousands of miles of get-outside potential, it’s safe to say the Silver State offers dark sky lovers a lifetime of some of the most stellar exploration on Earth. From dark sky locations in national parks to our wondrous, wide-open desertscapes, we’ll show you the least light-polluted corners of the state for your next stargazing journey.
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.