So where are the best Desert Locations for Night Sky Viewing in the Palm Springs area?
A road trip away from a city’s bright lights on a clear night will be a treat for anyone who looks up to the skies. Here in Southern California, we’re especially lucky to live in a place with some of the best night sky viewing in the continental United States. You just have to venture at least 100 miles away from Los Angeles and Las Vegas which means the desert.
Here are a few spots in our local deserts that offer brilliant views. A link follows with 7 that are a short drive, but worth a planned trip.
- Joshua Tree National Park is a classic stargazing destination and one with plenty of public programs during the winter and spring seasons. Most of the events take place at the Cottonwood Campground amphitheater, which is known as one of the darkest places in the park — only the glow from Palm Springs and a nearby truck stop affect the view.
- The Mesa- Yucca Valley Man is it dark out there. With little in the way of population and therefore, even less light, the sky is very dark and so alive with the Milky Way.
- Sky Valley Yup- it’s earned its name. Head up Palm Drive to Dillon and turn right. Head out into the desert and pull off where it’s safe and have a look.
- Whitewater Canyon Drive out HWY 111 and turn right on Tipton Rd. Follow around and over the Freeway the up Whitewater Cyn. As you go up the hill into the canyon you can see stars for days. It’s a short drive out of town and has several places to pull off road.
- Painted Hills- Desert Hot Springs Almost any place in DHS is good for viewing and the Painted Hills area is no exception. It’s west of Hwy 62.
- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is Borrego Springs, which in 2009 became the world’s second International Dark Sky Community. The park was also named by USA Today as one of the top 10 places in the country to gaze at stars. Worth the short drive for sure.
- Your own back yard! Dig it, here in Palm Springs, the skies are kept dark through lighting restrictions on up lighting. Now it won’t be as good as heading out into the desert, but it is great in some locations. Go to Demuth Park or Ruth Hardy Park and try it!
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