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 utter dark of a moonless night in Canyonlands surprises many visitors. As few as one in ten Americans live in areas 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 Canyonlands, the naked eye is sufficient to witness a wealth of stars. Under the right conditions, common binoculars may even reveal the rings of Saturn. Canyonlands preserves a wealth of resources. Many, like natural darkness, have become more significant as they become increasingly rare outside the park.
Stargazing on Your Own
Give yourself time.
Use a red light.
Bring a star chart.
Ranger-led Stargazing Programs
Island in the Sky / Dead Horse Point State Park / Arches National Park
During the spring and fall, Island in the Sky rangers team up with rangers from Arches National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park to introduce visitors to the wonders of the night sky. A ranger program will be followed by stargazing and telescope viewing. The location will rotate among the three parks and the start time will vary with the time of sunset. Programs will take place in good weather or bad. Bring a chair or a blanket to sit on, a red flashlight (if you have one), and warm clothes.
Stargazing events at The Needles include a night sky program, followed by telescope viewing. Programs begin at The Needles Visitor Center. Start times will vary based on the time of sunset. Programs will take place in good weather or bad. Bring a chair or a blanket to sit on, a red flashlight (if you have one), and warm clothes.
Stargazing events at The Maze occur occasionally in spring and fall. Programs will take place in good weather or bad. Bring a chair or a blanket to sit on, a red flashlight (if you have one), and warm clothes.
Jump to date
By Event Type
Spot the Station!
Did you know you can see the International Space Station fly overhead? If you're in the right place at the right time, you'll see a bright spot sail across the sky. Look for an open area with a clear view of the sky. Check below for the next sighting.
Last updated: April 11, 2019