10 of the best places in the US for stargazing

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You don t need to spend big bucks to see incredible views of the stars. All you really have to do is get away from civilization and visit one of the best places in the US to stargaze.

Here are 10 places you're guaranteed to see a spectacular night sky. Devil s Tower National Monument, Wyoming offers unparalleled views.

Joe Sills

The otherworldly landscape of Devil's Tower is etched into the minds of sci-fi fans, as the centerpiece of Steven Spielberg s 1977 classic, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." You aren t likely to see any UFO s swirling around Devil s Tower at night, but if you visit Wyoming s most mysterious monument during the summer months, a glance up will treat you to views of a rising Milky Way Galaxy over an 867-foot tall monolith.

Staking out a site at the National Park Service s Belle Fourche campground inside of the national monument will give you unhindered views of the tower for 20 per night, while the nearby Joyner Ridge Trail will place photographers far away from the light pollution and clamor of camp. Bring a flashlight, and take a twilight stroll along the trail while you wait for the galaxy to rise.

Head to Creede, Colorado for tacos and stargazing.

Joe Sills

Located more than four hours by car from Denver, this Southern Colorado hideaway is a holdover from pioneer days. However, you won t find streets littered with ski slopes and rocky candy shops in Creede. Instead, you ll find elevated views of the stars atop Bachelor Loop Road, scattered among rolling vistas and abandoned mines.

Treat yourself to some of the finest tacos in the state at Kip s Grill, before making your way up Bachelor Loop Road to soak in the views. Be warned: the road is narrow, unpaved, and steep in many places. If you re afraid of heights, this is a view you ll have to work for.

Looking for a pit-stop on the way? Swing by Great Sand Dunes National Park en route for a Sahara-like landscape unique among US national parks.

Mojave National Preserve, California offers a peaceful stargazing experience.

Joe Sills

An hour s drive south of Las Vegas, the Mojave National Preserve is home to an endless sea of sagebrush, sand, and Joshua trees. Bereft of national park status, the preserve sees far fewer visitors than the relatively close major parks at the Grand Canyon and Death Valley.

The National Park Service operates two, family-friendly campgrounds within the preserve; however, my best recommendation is to make for visitor s center at Kelso Depot and ask a park ranger about dispersed camping areas. They re likely to point you in the direction of a lonely fire pit hidden somewhere in the desert, and that s where a sublime stargazing experience awaits.

Light is such a commodity here at night, that a set of party lights can illuminate your campground. And, in the Mojave, you ll find the stars unobstructed, save for the peculiar Joshua trees or mountain peaks in the distance.

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