Stargazing

People and a telescope illuminated in red, with stars overhead
Visitors gather for a night sky program.

NPS/Chris Wonderly

 

Due to road construction, the park will close nightly Sunday through Thursday nights.
Stargazing opportunities will be limited.

 

The national parks and monuments of the Colorado Plateau have long been popular destinations for travelers. In addition to their stunning landscapes and rich cultural history, these areas share another resource: some of the darkest skies remaining in the contiguous 48 United States.

The darkness of a moonless night at Arches surprises many visitors. As few as one in ten Americans lives in an area where they can see the estimated 2,500 stars that should be visible under normal conditions. In many cities, the night sky is completely obscured by the glow of urban settlement. At Arches, the naked eye is sufficient to witness a wealth of stars. Under the right conditions, common binoculars may even reveal the rings of Saturn.

However, a clear view of the Milky Way is more than an aesthetic experience. Research indicates that light pollution severely impacts the ability of many animals, especially birds and insects, to navigate. On many occasions, thousands of birds have died in a single night by following artificial lights into towers, buildings, smokestacks and even the ground. Read more about the importance of dark night skies.

Arches' relative isolation from the artificial light of urban areas makes it an ideal place for viewing the night sky. Park staff have also worked to reduce ambient light from within the park by replacing park lighting with "night-sky friendly" lights and fixtures. Arches preserves a wealth of resources. Many, like natural darkness, have become more significant as they become increasingly rare outside the park.

Where to Stargaze

On a clear night, you can see great stars just about anywhere in the park. Areas off the main park road with few obstructions of the sky are best. The farther north you drive, away from the lights of Moab, the darker the sky will be.

Try stargazing at these areas:

  • Balanced Rock Picnic Area
  • The Windows
  • Garden of Eden Viewpoint
  • Panorama Point
 

2017 Night Sky Programs

Because of road construction and nightly road closures Sunday through Thursday, we will not offer many night sky programs at Arches. You may find stargazing programs at nearby parks.

See the Calendar for all events.

 

Search for Events

By Date

By Keyword

Upcoming Events

Sorry, but there are no events between 10/06/2017 and 11/05/2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 907
Moab, UT 84532

Phone:

(435) 719-2299

Contact Us