Photograph the Stars and Milky Way at Great Basin NP

39.017764,-114.173368 - Search Nearby - Added by Mayson Algeyer

Capture the beauty of the Milky Way and stand in awe of more spectacular stars than seem most anywhere else at Great Basin National Park. After all, at this International Dark Sky Park they say: "Half the park is after dark."

Great Basin National Park is the only National Park found in the Silver State of Nevada, near the state's east-central border. In 2016 it earned the designation of International Dark Park, by the International Dark Sky Association for being a place where light pollution in a protected area is some of the lowest in the entire world today. 

The park's nighttime environment is protected for scientific, recreational, and cultural values and highlighted by the park's popular tagline: "Half the park is after dark." On a clear, moonless night in Great Basin National Park, thousands of stars, five of our solar system's planets, star clusters, meteors, man-made satellites, the Andromeda Galaxy, and Milky Way Galaxy can all be seen with the naked eye.

This truly breathtaking display of the night sky can be witness or captured from virtually anywhere within the park, especially on a  night with little to no moon. Though it is worth noting that the Lower and Upper Lehman Creek Campgrounds are not as ideal places for stargazing, due to the amount of trees dotting the areas and hills that surround them. Some of the best places to take in this awe inspiring feature of the park include: the Great Basin Visitor Center, Lehman Caves Visitor Center, Maether Peak Overlook, Wheeler Peak Overlook, and a small covered picnic area about 3 miles past the Visitor Center on the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. Both the Wheeler and Maether Peak Overlooks provide high vantage points from which to stargaze. While the Visitor Centers and covered picnic area in the lower valley provide flat wide open areas to enjoy the night sky and its overwhelming beauty. 

Using astronomy or photography apps like PhotoPills are great tools for this type of activity because they can tell you where certain stars are located in the sky or when the best time of night is to view particular feature like the core of the Milky Way. Often the later you venture out into the night, the more spectacular the experience gets. 

During the spring, fall, and summer Great Basin rangers put on programs that highlight the park's dark sky and offer lectures, telescope demonstrations, and more all focused on education and experiences surrounding the unique stellar offering of Great Basin National Park.  

Activities

Chillin, Photography

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic

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Ely KOA

Ely, Nevada

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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