Night Skies

Houseboat beached at night with stars overhead.
The True GRIT houseboat sits under the Milky Way at dusk. Out on Lake Powell, the only artificial light comes from the boats.

NPS Photo/B Moffitt


Night Scape

Celebrated for their wild rivers, sheer masses of intricately-carved sandstone, fragile desert ecosystems rich in diversity, and well preserved records of the region’s historic human inhabitants, the national parks and monuments of the Colorado Plateau are a sanctuary for the American Southwest’s cultural and natural heritage. Also home to some of the darkest skies in the country, these national parks and monuments provide a place where visitors can experience our shared, universal heritage; the Milky Way’s silvery rainbow glittering against inky black. The magnificence of the cosmos has inspired humans for hundreds of years, but it is something that may never be experienced by our youngest generations.

Did you know that as many as 80 percent of Americans can no longer see the Milky Way from where they live? In large urban areas, the brilliance of the night sky is completely concealed by the non-natural light emitted by the city. In contrast, as many as 15,000 stars may be seen throughout the night at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and we have made a commitment to protect this precious, but rapidly disappearing, natural resource.

Our Efforts to Stop Light Pollution

You may notice some of the exterior lighting around Glen Canyon National Recreation Area emits light that appears deep yellow, red or orange. This is because blue light brightens the night sky more than any other color, so we’re actively working to replace bulbs that produce a bluer spectrum with those that produce a “warmer” spectrum. In addition to the color of our light, we are also moving toward shielded exterior light fixtures which prevent light trespass.

What Can I Do To Help?

Unlike many other types of pollution, light pollution is totally reversible. Each time you turn off an exterior light, you’ve helped to decrease the amount light pollution being produced. Similarly, the next time one of the exterior lights on your home needs replaced, consider a fixture that only directs the light downward and prevents light for escaping up into the sky. You can learn more about dark-sky lighting principles by visiting the International Dark-Sky Association’s website.

Dark Sky News and Articles From Other Parks

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    Astronomy Programs in National Parks

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    • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

      Solar Viewing and Junior Ranger Night Explorer

      Tuesday, May 23, 2017

      Solar Viewing & Night Sky Junior Ranger Activites More

      10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
      Carl Hayden Visitor Center
      There is no fee to attend this event.
    • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

      Dark Skies Ranger Talk and Stargazing

      Friday, May 26, 2017

      Stargazing with Rangers More

      8:00 PM to 10:00 PM
      Wahweap Swim Beach Parking Lot
      There is no fee to attend this event
    • Gulf Islands National Seashore

      Stargazing at Fort Pickens Area

      Friday, May 26, 2017

      Join park staff and volunteers from the Escambia Amateur Astronomer’s Association (EAAA) for a fun night out under the stars. Get an up close view of some celestial objects and learn more about the night sky. Telescopes will be available for use. More

      7:45 PM to 10:00 PM
      Fort Pickens Area
      FREE - Entrance Fee Required
    • Cedar Breaks National Monument

      Summer Star Party!

      Saturday, May 27, 2017

      Go on a laser guided tour of the night sky and gaze at celestial objects through park telescopes! More

      8:30 PM to 11:00 PM
      Point Supreme
      Park Fees Apply
    • Rocky Mountain National Park

      Party with the Stars

      Friday, June 16, 2017

      Watch as night descends on Rocky Mountain National Park. More

      8:30 PM
      Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead
    • Grand Canyon National Park

      2017 Grand Canyon Star Party

      Saturday, June 17, 2017

      Join park rangers and astronomers for eight nights in June for some of the best night sky viewing in the country. More

      9:00 AM to 11:45 PM
      Grand Canyon South and North rims
    • Aztec Ruins National Monument

      Summer Solstice Sunrise Observation

      Tuesday, June 20, 2017

      Experience the alignment of the Aztec West great house with the summer solstice sunrise! More

      5:30 AM to 7:00 AM
      Meet in the Aztec Ruins National Monument picnic area.

    Contact the Park

    Mailing Address:

    PO Box 1507
    Page, AZ 86040


    (928) 608-6200
    Receptionist at Glen Canyon Headquarters This facility is open 7am-4pm MST Monday-Friday. The phone is not monitored when the building is closed.

    Contact Us