When it comes to stargazing, there are two things that are really important: being in a high place and far away from big, bright lights. The state of Nevada has both of these things. Here is how you can have a starry adventure traveling the roads of this state!
The Starry-est Road in America
Nevada has a special road called Park to Park in the Dark. It’s a five-hour drive that goes for about 300 miles. This road connects two places called International Dark Sky Parks. Along the way, you’ll pass through small, quiet towns with very little light.
Remember, you need to be careful and bring everything you need because there aren’t many services around. Starting with Great Basin National Park, you can already enjoy stargazing thanks to the area having some of the darkest skies in the continental U.S. Basically, you can stand anywhere in the park, look up at the sky, and see lots of stars.
The first town you’ll reach after leaving Great Basin National Park is a tiny little 36-person town called Baker. As you can imagine, such a small town doesn’t need much light.
That means one heck of a view of the stars at night. Just north of Baker, there’s a place called the Baker Archaeological Site, which is a great spot to see the Milky Way. It’s the ultimate stargazer’s destination.
Ely is a lovely place, especially in the fall when the leaves on the trees turn gold, orange, and red, making it an autumn wonderland.
Sure, there’s lots of great trails for riding bikes or ATVs around the town, but the best part are its two stargazing spots, both located within state parks.
Tonopah and Goldfield
Nevada is home to lots of long stretches of road with no services, so if you find yourself doing the drive between Ely and Tonopah, be sure to bring along tons of food and water and a full tank of gas. Once you get to Tonopah, though, you’ll find a special park just off Highway 95.
You can get out your telescope and enjoy a picnic while you wait for the stars to come out, or even join in for one of their “star parties” twice a month until the end of October. South of Tonopah is Goldfield, an old mining town. There are two ghost towns nearby, Diamondfield and Gold Point, which are great places to stargaze.
Beatty and Death Valley National Park
Beatty is the entrance to Death Valley State Park on the Nevada side. It’s a quiet place surrounded by open land, making it perfect for looking up at the stars in peace.
In the fall, winter, and spring, park rangers have astronomy programs, but you can also stargaze on your own at any time because the park is open 24/7, making it perfect for loner night owls as well!