Idaho is quite literally the gold-tier place to be for a night under the stars. As America’s first Gold-Tier International Dark Sky Reserve location, Idaho stargazing should join the ranks of top bucket list items astronomy lovers.
Planning a stargazing Idaho trip can be challenging. With so many locations to see, how do you decide where to start? That’s why we’ve created a guide to the best stargazing locations Idaho has to offer. And, of course, no road trip is complete without an RV rental to get you from place to place!
Without further ado, let’s get to planning your Idaho stargazing trip and booking your dream RV.
Idaho Stargazing Tips
As you prepare for your stargazing trip to Idaho, keep these few tips in mind to make the most of your journey.
- Pack plenty of layers. No matter what season you head to Idaho, the night temperatures can be colder than you’re expecting. It never hurts to bring along an extra blanket or jacket.
- Track the moon. Visiting during a new moon is the best time to view the Idaho night sky. The bright moon further illuminates the sky, making the stars seem even brighter.
- There’s no need to bring along a high-tech telescope if you don’t have one. Your naked eyes or a pair of binoculars is enough to experience the Milky Way.
- Follow the trails. While it can be tempting to go off trail to get a better view of the sky, Idaho parks and forests are filled with wildlife that you won’t want to disturb. If you’re spending the night out in a forest or national park, be mindful of nature and stick to the trail.
- Make sure you pack a leash. Many locations are pet-friendly in some areas, but they often require a leash. Follow pet safety guidelines marked at the entrance of your chosen location to protect you and your pet.
Best Locations for Stargazing in Stanley
Stanley, Idaho is an excellent place to go stargazing! Check out these high-quality Idaho stargazing locations.
Ponderosa Pines Scenic Byway
As part of the Sawtooth National Forest, the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway is a stargazing idyllic setting. The stargazing Idaho location boasts panoramic views and endless night skies. Furthermore, three Dark Sky Preserves have been designated in this region, making it a stargazer’s paradise.
Aside from stargazing, this Idaho Dark Sky Reserve destination is also ideal for hiking, fishing, skiing, kayaking, and horseback riding. Fill your days with family activities before setting up camp under the night sky!
This low-light area is ideal for stargazers wanting to immerse themselves in natural beauty. Between the glossy surface of Stanley Lake and the mountainous views that accompany the area, the stars above will only add to the surreal scenery around you.
Bench Lakes Trail
Let your pets enjoy the starry Idaho sky along with you on the Bench Lakes Trail. This 7.8-mile moderate hike provides a stunning view of the open sky around shimmering lakes. Wind your way around the trail to enjoy every angle of the night sky reflecting in the water below.
RV Parks Nearby:
Make your way to these star-lit destinations in comfort with a Cruise America RV rental!
Best Locations for Stargazing in Boise
As the capital of this beautiful Gem State, this city offers ample locations for stargazing. From state parks to gorgeous ponds and lakes, Boise should definitely make its way onto your stargazing Idaho road trip list!
Bruneau Dunes State Park
Idaho stargazers can also stargaze while strolling along the Bruneau Dunes State Park. Spanning over 12,000 acres of expansive sand dunes, this stargazing Idaho location provides a stunning panorama to stargaze under the stars. In fact, here you’ll find some of the highest concentrations of stargazing locations in the entire state.
Plus, stargazers can stroll along the free boardwalk that passes through this unique stargazing Idaho location. While wandering through Bruneau Dunes State Park, be sure to also check out other stargazing spots like the Bruneau River and the Wildlife Refuge.
Boise National Forest
Stargazing isn’t the only recreation activity offered in the Boise National Forest. In addition to the nighttime views, visitors can partake in fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, and more. After a long day of fun activities, find a comfortable seat and turn your head toward the stars.
Park Creek Overlook
Sitting at an elevation of 6,535 feet, Paint Creek Overlook is a top choice for stargazing in Idaho. You’ll have an exceptional view of the starry sky expanding over the Sawtooth Mountains. In the colder months, you can spend the day skiing the area before warming up in your RV and preparing for sunset.
A stargazing hotspot for Idaho stargazing, stargazers flock to the foothills every summer when dark skies return. Clear views of the horizon with minimal obstructions make stargazing in Boise stargazing even better.
A gorgeous park that is free and open to stargazers all year long, Quinn’s Pond provides a peaceful location to view the stars from your RV rental in Boise, where you can stargaze in solitude. With no light pollution, you can clearly see the Milky Way and thousands of stars!
RV Parks Nearby:
With so many places to visit in Boise, you’ll want to book a Cruise America RV rental and stay a while!
Other Best Stargazing Locations in Idaho
Throughout all of central Idaho, there are countless other locations in the Dark Sky Reserve. We’ve highlighted just a few of these stunning places below to guide you along your stargazing Idaho adventure.
Knob Hill Natural Area
Knob Hill Natural Area is located just outside of downtown Ketchum. This stargazing Idaho location can be reached by just a short hike and has some of the best views in the city. Enjoy both the starry night sky and the stunning layout of the city below at this stargazing spot.
Spend your day getting lost in the wonders of Ernest Hemingway’s greatest novels right beside his memorial. As the sun begins to set, take a moment from the words of Hemingway to experience the beauty of the twinkling stars above.
Lowman, ID is home to the Stargaze Yurt. Here you can experience a 270-degree view of the eastern horizon. Watch the stars appear over the span of Idaho’s numerous mountains. From Jackson Peak to the Sawtooth Mountains, the stars shine bright over the expanse seen right from this overlook.
RV Parks Nearby:
No matter where you choose to go for stargazing, Idaho has plenty of RV parks. Hit the road in a Cruise America RV rental!
Experience the Reserve With Cruise America
There’s nothing quite like a Gold-Tier Dark Sky Reserve location. Expansive skies and breathtaking views are just a few of the perks to a stargazing trip to Idaho. Don’t miss out on a single location — get an RV rental and travel the whole place! Cruise America offers a fleet of RVs that are perfect for your next trip. Explore Idaho’s night sky in comfort and style with one of our many RV rentals.
Contact us today to get started booking your RV!