Black Canyon National Park was certified as an International Dark Sky Park in 2015, making it only the ninth in the nation and the first in Colorado. Granted by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), the designation is given to locales with minimal to zero light pollution.
For sky-watchers, the Dark Sky Park honor means they can come to The Black and gaze upon constellations and planets without losing details to a haze of artificial light from nearby cities. The designation recognizes that the park has “exceptional opportunities” to observe dark skies and that it also has implemented a program of dark-sky preservation and education.
Black Canyon offers night sky viewing opportunities throughout the year. The park is always open to stargaze on your own. Rangers and local astronomers present evening talks from May through September every Wednesday and Friday night, weather permitting.
The annual Black Canyon Astronomy Festival takes place in June and features a number of unique astronomy and solar programs, Sky Rangers, local astronomers, and events presented by special speakers and volunteers to showcase the dark night skies. For young visitors to the Festival, the program includes special kids activities that add to the ongoing, self-directed Junior Ranger activities that continue throughout the year.
Beyond the Festival, fans of star-gazing activities such as full-moon hikes led by rangers, winter full-moon snowshoeing treks, astronomy observation programs, and constellation tours can enjoy these outings throughout the year.