Starry Night & Dark Sky Adventures

Starry Night and Dark Sky Adventures in Death Valley National Park

Woman on Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes at Death Valley National Park

There are advantages to being a night owl, but you don’t have to stay out all that late to experience eminent stargazing at Death Valley National Park. The park's been given the highest ranking of darkness by the International Dark-Sky Association. Here are a trio of amazing ways to witness the mesmerizing night sky at Death Valley:

Dune It Yourself: Located 2 miles east of Stovepipe Wells (where there’s a General Store), the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are accessible by a large parking area and one of the most beautiful dune-scapes on the planet for watching a sunset and seeing the stars rise, without being too far from your car! Park in the lot off Highway 190, pack a flashlight, a headlamp, and some snacks.

The walking on the sand can be slow going, so decide how far you want to go before settling on any of the hulking waves of dunes. The tallest of them is about a mile away. Climb the spine and take your spot … even if it’s busy here, it’s possible to find plenty of room. Spread a blanket and enjoy a picnic while waiting for sunset, followed by a starry night. As the sun drops, colors from rose to violet shift across the mountains.

Don’t leave too soon, because this is a choice spot for some stargazing or easy entertainment watching your moon shadow. But be sure to start heading back to your car before it’s too dark (and use your headlamp or flashlight as needed). You can sit in your car or at the sandy base of the parking area to witness the deepening night and beaming stars.

Ranger Programs! There’s just something so cool about learning from the pros at Death Valley National Park. The ranger programs here shine bright (pun fully intended) and we especially like their starry night talks, which you can find out about at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. From moon walks to dune walks and starry night cosmos programs, find out about night adventures (and many daytime options too) in Death Valley.

BONUS DARK SKY FESTIVAL (March 1-3, 2024): Learn more about the night sky, and explore the park’s ethereal landscape at Death Valley’s Dark Sky Festival. Exclusive ranger programs, guest speakers from NASA, and plenty of interesting activities take place over multiple days celebrating the points beyond our world!

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