TRAVEL ALERT: Please follow local COVID-19 guidelines for safe, responsible travel. Read more.
Dark Sky Parks
browse allclose

Dark Sky Parks

Enjoy some of the best stargazing in the world
Of the vast amount of International Dark Sky Places that are part of a catalog of the finest dark skies in the world, the highest concentration are in Utah. Learn more about stargazing in Utah.
  • Natural Bridges

    Natural Bridges

    Owachomo Bridge at Natural Bridges National Monument.

  • Cedar Breaks

    Cedar Breaks

    Milky Way rising over Cedar Breaks National Monument.

  • Capitol Reef

    Capitol Reef

    Temple of the Moon at Capitol Reef National Park.

  • Canyonlands


    A lonely tent in Canyonlands National Park below pristine dark skies.

  • Bryce Canyon

    Bryce Canyon

    A natural bridge beneath a dark sky at Bryce Canyon National Park.

  • Arches National Park

    Arches National Park

    Double Arch with a dark sky backdrop.

  • Antelope Island

    Antelope Island

    Antelope Island State Park boasts incredible dark skies despite its proximity to Salt Lake City. Photo: Dan Ransom

  • Steinaker State Park

    Steinaker State Park

    A Star Party at Steinaker State Park. Photo: Bettymaya Foott

Certified Dark Sky Places

Southeastern Utah

Arches National Park

Check out a ranger-led stargazing program and Panorama Point for the best stargazing within Arches National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Wave after wave of deep canyons, towering mesas, pinnacles, cliffs and spires stretch across 527 square miles. Canyonlands National Park is home to many different types of travel experiences, from sublime solitude in the more remote stretches of the park to moderate hikes through the Needles district to the opportunity to create your own version of one of the West’s most photographed landforms, Mesa Arch. 

Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park was the first Utah State Park to achieve IDA certification. Except in winter, the park offers multiple evening events each month, such as night hikes, telescope programs and constellation tours. Even in poor weather conditions, multimedia astronomy talks can be held inside the visitor center. 

Natural Bridges National Monument

Natural Bridges National Monument was the world's first “Dark Sky Park” due to its remoteness and dedication to zero light pollution. The park’s visitor center, exhibits and campground are open year-round. 

Hovenweep National Monument

This monument is off the beaten path but worth the journey. Hovenweep, the Ute Indian word meaning ‘deserted valley,’ stands as a sentinel of Ancestral Puebloan ruins in a landscape of sage and juniper. If you want to view dark skies amid ancient buildings this is the place to stargaze.

Rainbow Bridge National Monument

Rainbow Bridge National Monument is the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary in the National Park Service. The monument itself can only be accessed only by boat on Lake Powell or by backpacking from Navajo Mountain, but the entire Glen Canyon National Recreation Area boasts dark skies.

Southwestern Utah

Capitol Reef National Park

Utah’s hidden gem of a national park, Capitol Reef, is almost like a planet unto itself. Here you get a real feel for what the earth might have been like millions of years before life appeared, when nothing existed but earth and sky. Stay up for night skies in a land like no other. Pair your visit with a visit to Torrey, a certified Dark Sky Community.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Far from the light pollution of civilization, and protected by a special force of park rangers and volunteer Utah astronomy enthusiasts, Bryce Canyon is known as the last grand sanctuary of natural darkness and has one of the nation’s oldest astronomy programs. For families visiting from the city, staying up for the star show is quite a reward. During moonless and clear nights, 7,500 stars will welcome you to their domain. Bryce Canyon also has an annual Astronomy Festival.

Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley State Park is unlike any other place in the world — and a place that captures and stretches the imagination, challenging you with its geologic whimsy. Free of any significant sources of light pollution, Goblin Valley is home to one of the clearest, darkest night skies in the world. Open daily until 10:00 p.m. and home to 24 campsites and two yurts for overnight guests.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Far from any metro light pollution and high in altitude makes sleeping under the stars at Cedar Breaks National Monument's updated campground first class. Rangers holds stargazing programs throughout the summer months.


Located just eight miles from the west entrance of Capitol Reef National Park, Torrey is an idyllic little tree-lined, high-elevation town on the Capitol Reef Country Scenic Byway (S.R. 24) surrounded by rose-colored cliffs and green meadows. The town came together to protect its night skies by improving outdoor lighting ordinances and retrofitting dark-sky compliant outdoor lighting to minimize light pollution and strengthen the town’s already close relationship with nature, place and the universe.

Northern Utah

Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island beckons you to stargaze from the salty remnants of an ancient lake. The closest certified park to Salt Lake City, Antelope Island offers fantastic sunset viewing from Buffalo Point and Frary Peak. Plan a quick escape from the city for a weekend camping trip that combines bison sightings, sunset hikes and incredible dark skies for astrophotography or getting lost in.

Dinosaur National Monument 

At the Dinosaur Quarry near Jensen, Utah, interact with the 149-million-year-old fossils that give Dinosaur National Monument its name. Beyond the Quarry, explore a full array of rich history, scenic splendor and starry skies, all connected by trails and rivers in the monument’s extensive backcountry. For camping families, the monument has a designated spot where they hold night sky programs near the Split Mountain Campground. Check the park schedule for ranger-led programs.

East Canyon State Park

Although East Canyon State Park is just 28 miles from Salt Lake City, the mountains provide a blockade for light pollution. At night, visitors are treated to an array of black skies and starry constellations. The park hosts dark sky star parties throughout the year, with scopes set up for night viewing. 

North Fork Park of Ogden Valley

The vibrant city of Ogden is a major hub toward the north end of Utah’s urban corridor. Just over the ridge line in the peaceful Ogden Valley lies a sprawling county park so ideally tucked away in a canyon the International Dark Sky Association added the park to its list of bronze-tier International Dark Sky Parks. Ogden is also home to another great planetarium in Utah–the Ott Planetarium at Weber University, which is “generally closed to the public” but open for special free events and by reservation. (Read: A Closer Look at North Fork Park)

Steinaker State Park

Steinaker State Park is the fourth Utah state park to receive dark sky designation and an ideal place for remote adventure. A reservoir nestled between Ashley National Forest and Dinosaur National Monument, there is no shortage of four-season beauty and exploration. Overnight in Vernal or the heated cabin and campgrounds at Steinaker State Park.

Timpanogos Cave National Monument

Famous for it's spectacularly decorated caverns of helictites, stalactites and stalagmites, Timpanogos Cave National Monument has a new designation the first National Park Service unit to be certified as an Urban Night Sky Place. In partnership with the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and local astronomy groups, the park offers popular summer night sky programs in American Fork Canyon.

Central Utah


Located near Nine Mile Canyon and along the way to more popular Southern Utah adventures, this former mining and railroad town continues to grow, giving travelers a glimpse into a community of art, history and stories of the power of togetherness. The town rallied its locals to protect and share its natural dark skies, leading to its certification of being an International Dark Sky Community. Helper's nearby Dark Sky Observers lead regular astronomy programs and special events in the area.

More Dark Skies

The University of Utah’s Willard L. Eccles Observatory isn't a certified Dark Sky Park, but is still a great place to explore the night sky. The observatory is sometimes open to the public, and its telescope offers views of celestial sights not visible with the naked eye. Learn more about planetariums and astronomy in Utah.

For a detailed list of stargazing locations in Utah, read: Where to See the Milky Way this Year.


Customize your itinerary search below or view all itineraries.

I’d like to visit Utah for
I want to spend time in

:: Start Over

Do everything you’d normally do on a National Park road trip, but when the stars come out, so do you. Red rock by day and serene dark skies by night, this stargazing trip includes nighttime splendor at certified International Dark Sky Parks.
  • Stargazing in International Dark Sky Parks
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Cedar Breaks National Monument
  • All-American Road: Scenic Byway 12
Hoodoos and Stars takes advantage of the proximity of Zion, Bryce and Capitol Reef national parks to slow down and also experience some of the must-see southwestern Utah landscapes and experiences along the way — including the world's best dark skies.
  • Zion National Park
  • All-American Road Scenic Byway 12
  • Capitol Reef Country
  • Kodachrome Basin
Known as Utah's epicenter of red rock hoodoos, the Bryce Canyon region is where lush alpine forests meet stunning red rock. Gaze over stunning vistas, explore a rich Ancestral Puebloan heritage, find solitude, and so much more.
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Kodachrome Basin State Park
  • Escalante Grand-Staircase National Monument
  • Anasazi State Park