Death Valley is a Gold Tier Dark Sky National Park
Death Valley National Park is designated as the largest Dark Sky National Park in the country by the International Dark Sky Association. Furnace Creek Resort, along side the National Park Service, has taken measures to greatly minimize light pollution in the area. Because of this, the park is designated as a ”Gold Tier” Dark Sky Park, the highest level awarded.
Located 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas and 295 miles northeast of Los Angeles, Furnace Creek is distant enough from the major cities in the Southwest to provide unobstructed view of the night’s sky, yet close enough for city dwellers to escape for the weekend.
“At Death Valley the sky literally begins at your feet,” said Tyler Nordgren, Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Redlands (Calif.) and International Dark-Sky Association board member. “When my students and I look up at night from our southern California campus, we can usually count 12 stars in the sky. However, less than a five hour drive from Los Angeles there’s a place where anyone can look up and see the universe the way everyone could 100 years ago.”
During the the winter and spring months, Death Valley National Park rangers hold stargazing events with various astronomy organizations, but the beautiful dark skies are an attraction for astronomy enthusiasts year-round.
Whether you’re an astronomer using a high-powered telescope, or someone who simply enjoys stargazing, Death Valley’s dark skies offer an opportunity to see things that cannot be detected in most of the world.