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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Garner

My Stargazing Trip to Colorado Springs

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

There's something special about looking up at the night sky and seeing the stars shining bright. It's a reminder of just how big and vast our universe is. If you're lucky enough to live in Colorado, you have some of the most spectacular stargazing spots right in your backyard!!!! If you are a visitor to the great state of Colorado, like I am, here is a guide just for you, listing some of my favorite places to stargaze in this grand place!

Trip to Colorado

Garden of the Gods Park

One of the most popular parks in Colorado, Garden of the Gods is also one of the best places to stargaze. The park is located just outside of Colorado Springs and is home to some of the most unique rock formations in the state. When you're not marveling at the rocks, you can be sure to find a spot where you can lay down and look up at the stars. Just be sure to bring a blanket or jacket as it can get cold at night!

Campsites near Rocky Mountain National Park

If you want to get away from the city lights, there are plenty of campsites near Rocky Mountain National Park that offer great stargazing opportunities. Some of my favorites include Cub Lake, Sprague Lake, and Moraine Park Campground. Make sure to reserve a spot early as these campsites fill up fast!

Adventure Stargazing Tours

If you want to learn more about stargazing or don't feel comfortable going out on your own, there are plenty of companies that offer stargazing tours. These tours are great for beginners and experts alike as they provide telescopes and knowledgeable guides who can answer any questions you might have. Some of my favorite adventure stargazing tours include Dark Sky Adventures, Black Canyon Astronomy Tours, and Rocky Mountain Star Stops.

Jackson Lake State Park

Located in northern Colorado, Jackson Lake State Park offers stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and a wide open sky perfect for stargazing. The park also has an astronomy program that runs from May through September, so be sure to check it out if you're visiting during those months.

Mesa Verde National Park

This national park is located in southwestern Colorado and is home to some of the best night skies in the state. The lack of light pollution means you'll be able to see countless stars overhead, and the views of the surrounding mountains are simply breathtaking. Be sure to bring a jacket though as it can get quite cold at night!

Pikes Peak In Colorado Springs

Curecanti National Recreation Area

This recreation area is located in western Colorado and offers stunning views of the stars over Blue Mesa Reservoir. With little light pollution and plenty of dark sky to explore, this is a great place for stargazing no matter what time of year you visit.

What Time is Best for Stargazing In Colorado?

Many people want to see stars but don’t know where and when to start. Colorado has some of the darkest skies in the country which makes for great stargazing. With a few tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way to seeing stars in no time!

What Do You Need For Stargazing In Colorado?

It is pretty simple ! - To see stars, you need a few things: clear skies, dark skies, and your eyesight. Of course, if you want to see more than just stars, you can always use binoculars or a telescope. However, for those just starting out, your eyes are all you need. Let’s break down each of these requirements so you can find the best place to see stars near you.

Clear Skies

First and foremost, you need clear skies to see stars. This means that there should be no clouds obscuring your view of the night sky. Unfortunately, this also means that weather plays a big role in whether or not you’ll be able to see stars on any given night. The good news is that there are plenty of resources available online that can help you predict when the skies will be clear. Once you know when the conditions will be right for stargazing, all that’s left is to find a dark place with clear skies.

Dark Skies

In order to see stars, you need dark skies. This means that there should be no light pollution interfering with your view of the night sky. While it might seem like finding a dark place would be easy—after all, it’s just darkness—light pollution is actually a bigger problem than you might think. Light pollution is any artificial light that interferes with your ability to see stars at night. This light pollution can come from things like streetlights, buildings, and even car headlights. When looking for a place to go stargazing, try to find an area away from city lights where light pollution won’t interfere with your view of the stars.

Your Eyesight

Once you have found a clear night with dark skies, the only thing standing between you and seeing stars is…your eyesight! In order to see stars, your eyes need to be adjusted to the darkness. This process is called dark adaptation and it can take up to 30 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust. To help your eyes adjust quickly, avoid looking at bright lights—like your phone screen—in the minutes leading up to your stargazing adventure. Once your eyes have adjusted to the darkness, sit back and enjoy the show!


The Best Time of Day for Stargazing

The best time of day for stargazing is going to be after sunset and before sunrise. This is because there is no sunlight interfering with your view of the stars. Of course, this also means that you will need to dress warmly! So take this into consideration when you packing for your stargazing adventure!

The Best Time of Year for Stargazing

The best time of year for stargazing really depends on what you want to see. For example, if you want to see the Milky Way, then the summer months are going to be the best time for you. This is because the Milky Way is only visible in the Northern Hemisphere from May to September. However, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, then you will be able to see the Milky Way from November to March.

If you want to see shooting stars, then your best bet is going to be during a meteor shower. Meteor showers happen when the Earth passes through debris left behind by a comet or asteroid. There are several meteor showers that take place throughout the year, so doing some research ahead of time will help you plan your stargazing adventure.

What Do I Need to Take With Me for a Stargazing Trip in Colorado Springs

With its clear, dry air and high elevation, Colorado Springs is one of the best places in the country for stargazing. Whether you're a seasoned astronomer or just getting started, there are a few things you'll need to make the most of your trip.

Stargazing Equipment

First and foremost, you'll need a good pair of binoculars. Even if you have a telescope, binoculars are essential for scanning the night sky and finding constellations. Make sure to get a pair that's comfortable to hold and easy to use; you don't want to be fumbling around with complicated controls when you should be enjoying the view.

Warm Clothing Even In Summer Time

Secondly, you'll need to dress for the occasion. Remember that it gets cold at night, even in the summer, so layers are always a good idea. Dress in warm, comfortable clothes that you can move around in easily; you may find yourself spending a lot of time on your feet or sitting on the ground. And don't forget to pack a blanket! Wrapping up in a cozy blanket is one of the best parts of stargazing.

My Final Notes For You

If you’re ever in the area and have an opportunity to go stargazing, I highly recommend making the trip out to Colorado Springs. With its high altitude and great locations, it’s a perfect spot for amateur astronomers or anyone interested in getting started with stargazing. The experience was unforgettable and I hope to return soon. Who knows, maybe next time I’ll even get to see the Northern Lights!

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