Stargazing in Colorado is unreal and there is no shortage of locations to experience the stars. From the top of mountain passes to unique spots like the Great Sand Dunes National Parks, stargazing in Colorado is sure to leave you with epic memories.
Guanella pass is full of magical spots that provide an open sky and mountain views. The pass itself extends from Georgetown to Grant Colorado and is paved the entire drive making it an easy mountain drive for any vehicle. The Excel Energy power plant is along the drive which lights up the mountains just enough for amazing landscape night photographs. There is plenty of pull offs and parking along the drive making it easily accessible. Colorado shows off its gorgeous aspen trees, 3 mountain lakes, plenty of wildlife and even several campsites. The summit has two different pull offs where there are 360 degree views of the rocky mountains and the night sky. Dress warm even in the summer, it can be cold and windy even in August. The arctic tundra maintains snow year round and the elevation is around 10,000 ft. The top 3 miles of this pass close in the winter months but many of the parking lots, lakes and pull offs are still accessible even in the winter.
The drive up Mt. Evans is by far one of the most spectacular drives in the country. While the road is paved, the constant switchbacks and narrow road provides a moderately challenging drive. It’s located off I-70 at the Idaho Springs exit. There are plenty of parking lots along the drive with amazing vista’s that include Denver’s closest 14’er, Mt. Evans. You can drive all the way to the summit where Denver University has their observatory. Along the drive there is plenty of wildlife, views of Denver, views of the Rocky Mountains, and two alpine lakes in the rolling alpine tundra. This drive is only open Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Loveland Pass is one of the most popular vistas for the Continental Divide. The summit is about 11,000 ft and the two lane road is fully paved. Loveland Pass is located on I-70 off exit 218 and spits you out in Keystone, Colorado. The drive over Loveland Pass is heavily trafficked by hazardous material trucks as they are required to drive over the pass instead of though the Eisenhower tunnel. There are some secret spots along Loveland Pass that offer amazing views without the hustle and light interference of the traffic. There is an alpine lake, a waterfall, two ski resorts and 360 degree views of the Continental Divide.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is by far the most popular spot for stargazing in Colorado. The park is not nearly as crowded at night as it is during the day. There is still a good amount of light pollution from Estes Park, but in some shots it ads a sunset type effect that looks gorgeous. Trail Ridge Road extends from Estes Park to Grand Lake with plenty of pull offs and parking lots along the drive. Trail Ridge Road is only open in the summer months; however, there is plenty of vista’s within the park to make winter months just as spectacular. RMNP offers easily accessible night hiking trails with lakes, tundra, and wildlife.
The north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, near Gunnison, Colorado has been named a Dark Sky Park and is one of Colorado’s most impressive national parks. The north rim is less popular than the south rim but has more views of the milky way than the south rim. Be sure to brush up on your light painting skills so you can light up the fissures on the canyon walls that make great photos pop. The north rim has dirt roads with minimal hiking to canyon vistas where as the south rim has paved roads and pull outs accessible from the parking lots. The road to the bottom of the canyon is only open in the summer months; however, the rim drives remain open year round. Black Canyon has camping, hiking, climbing and rafting.
Green Mountain Reservoir
The skies at Green Mountain Reservoir are slightly polluted with light but the milky way is still visible to the naked eye. This lake offers 360 views of the Rocky Mountains and the lake itself stretches over 4 miles. There are plenty of camp sites around the lake as well as great boating, hiking and fishing. Green Mountain Reservoir is located in Heeney Colorado about 40 minutes from Silverthorne.
Sand Dunes National Park
The Sand Dunes National Park is another dark sky park here in Colorado. This park offers endless dirt road jeep trails and dispersed camping in the summer as well as paved, easily accessible vistas in the winter. In the spring months, May and June, there is a river that flows at the base of the sand dunes from all the snow melt. The San Juan mountains create a stunning backdrop behind the sandy dunes that give you the surreal feeling of being on another planet. This park offers plenty of opportunities for camping, hiking and jeeping.
Make stargazing in Colorado even more memorable with a stargazing photo shoot. We’ll capture priceless memories of you and your special someone or best friends with the backdrop of the Colorado starry skies.