This U.S. National Park Has a Free Stargazing Festival

Photo by Sindre Fs

You probably know that lots of national parks are great stargazing locations. You probably also know that some places are so clear at night that you can see the Milky Way without using a telescope. But did you know that Death Valley National Park is one of those locations, and they have a stargazing festival that’s completely free? Read on to learn all the details.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley is extremely remote (hence its name – you don’t want your car to run out of gas out there), and is below sea level, making it an excellent place for stargazing. The desert is so dark at night that DarkSky International has given it the honor of being a Gold Tier destination, which is the highest title a place can get. Death Valley is one of the darkest locations in the world at night, so much so, that you can see tons of stars and constellations without using a telescope – including the Miky Way.

The Festival

This year, the Death Valley Dark Sky Festival will take place from March 1st to March 3rd and remains completely free of charge. Scientists and park rangers will be at the event, giving presentations, leading workshops, and answering questions. Some of the topics that will be discussed include NASA’s Lunar Trailblazer mission, life on Mars, and whatever space-related questions get thrown at the astronomers and astrophysicists from Caltech who will be having an open panel. There will be constellation tours, space-themed trivia, and children will be able to build their very own Mars rovers with the help of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The majority of the festival will take place at Furnace Creek, but accommodations will be at The Inn at Death Valley and The Ranch at Death Valley.

Photo by Abby Kihano

Just do keep in mind that Death Valley is named as such for a reason, so bring whatever you’ll need for your trip – including double whatever amount of water you plan on packing.