Half the park is after dark! From animals to plants and water to volcanoes, Lassen Volcanic National Park protects many different natural phenomena. One of the most spectacular is frequently overlooked -- our incredible, dark, night sky. Lassen Volcanic is one of the best places to learn about and enjoy the splendor of the night sky. Far from the light pollution of civilization, Lassen is one of the last sanctuaries of natural darkness. Whether you have yet to experience the grandeur of the Milky Way, or you are a dedicated amateur astronomer, Lassen's dark skies offer unparalleled view of the celestial wonders. Experience Lassen after dark:
Stargaze in the Park
Tips for Getting Started:
Where to Go
You can enjoy the dark night sky in Lassen Volcanic anywhere you can see the sky. Many campsites in the park are forested, so you may want to head to a lakeshore, a meadow, or even a parking area to get a wider view of the sky. There are very few lights in the park at night, however getting away from buildings, headlights, or even camp lights can also improve your view of the sky. Be sure to avoid areas that are wet or with uneven terrain that may pose a tripping hazard.
*Please note that overnight camping is only allowed in campgrounds and is not permitted in pullouts or parking areas (except Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center with camping fee).
Take a Full Moon Hike
Stargaze Where You Live
Look up at Home
In Your Town
Learn More About the Night Sky in the Lassen Area
Shasta Astronomy Club is composed of amateur astronomers and night sky enthusiasts in the Redding and the North State community. The club's emphasis is observing with telescopes and binoculars, and offering public outreach. SAC offers special events at nearby Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and participates in the Lassen Dark Sky Festival.
The Astronomical Society of Nevada is a non-profit service organization introducing the pubic to astronomy. The ASN participates in the annual Lassen Dark Sky Festival, offers public telescope viewing in the Reno area, conducts public star parties at Washoe County schools and parks, and more. Learn more about ASN programs and activities.
Stories in the Stars
When we look up at a dark night sky, we are essentially seeing the same sky that humans have looked upon for thousands of years. The same dark and starry sky has evoked countless myths, art, literature and music from cultures around the world.
As slave lore tells it, the North Star played a key role in helping slaves to find their way—a beacon to true north and freedom. Escaping slaves could find it by locating the Big Dipper, a well-recognized asterism most visible in the night sky in late winter and spring. As the name implies, its shape resembles a dipping ladle, or drinking gourd. From the gourd’s outline, the North Star could be found by extending a straight line five times the distance from the outermost star of the bowl.
Last updated: July 28, 2022