Summer is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay up all night. Some of the most breathtaking constellations twinkle beneath the evening sky in Colorado as the seasons change, so dress warm, grab a blanket and get outside after the sun goes down. You don’t need to know anything about astronomy to enjoy these stargazing activities in our stunning state.
Night Sky Tour
Where: Chimney Rock National Monument, 3179 State Highway 151, Chimney Rock
When: Friday, August 17, 7 – 9:30 p.m.
Cost: $12 per person
The Lowdown: Removed from light pollution, Chimney Rock National Monument is the perfect spot to see the twinkling stars. Experience the rocky landscape silhouette underneath the glow of the galaxies on the official Night Sky Tour. This guided tour takes you along the Great Kiva and Pueblo Trails to see spectacular stars near the Colorado/New Mexico border. It doesn’t get more surreal than this.
Raft Underneath the Moon in Browns Canyon
Where: Meet at The Adventure Company, 12847 US-24, Buena Vista
When: Friday, August 24, 7 p.m.
Cost: $139 per person
The Lowdown: Adrenaline junkies will have more fun whitewater rafting in the dark. Hosted by The Adventure Company in Buena Vista, the Raft Underneath the Moon series will take the bravest adventure-seekers through Browns Canyon under full moonlight. You will see the Collegiate Peaks at night as well as some gorgeous stars you probably can’t see in your backyard.
Full Moon Hike
Where: Standley Lake Regional Park, 9785 Eagleview Loop, Westminster
When: Sunday, August 26, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Cost: Free entry
The Lowdown: Enjoy the view of a lake beneath a full moon, and get a different perspective of the outdoors. No flashlights are allowed on this hour-long adventure through Standley Lake Regional Park in Westminster. Led by a park naturalist, the Full Moon Hike is perfect for date night a short distance from Denver and is also fun with family and friends.
Where: HRCA Backcountry Wilderness Area, 6005 Ron King Trail, Littleton
When: Wednesday, August 29, 7 – 9 p.m.
Cost: $20 per person
The Lowdown: There’s no better way to kick off the fall festivities than a hayride. Stargaze a short distance away from Denver on a two-hour stargazing hayride in Littleton. Local astronomers will explain the constellations in the night sky and provide telescopes so that you can enjoy the beautiful night sky in the backcountry. Make sure you dress warm and bring snacks.
Stories in the Sky with Walking Mountains Science Center
Where: Vail Nature Center, 601 Vail Valley Dr., Vail
When: Every Friday, 8:45 – 10 p.m. through August 31
Cost: $10 per person
The Lowdown: Watching the stars twinkle in the night sky never gets boring, but you can learn more about them at Stories in the Sky, hosted by Walking Mountains Science Center and Four Seasons Resort Vail. Every Friday night through the end of August, you can learn how to locate the constellations in the sky and hear the myths that surround them. It’s a great experience if you want to sound smarter on your next date stargazing with your lover.
Ales and Astronomy
Where: REI Adventure Station, Center Village, Copper Mountain Resort, 509 Copper Rd., Frisco
When: Saturday, September 1 and Friday, September 7, 7:30 – 11 p.m.
Cost: $99 for members, $119 for non-members at REI
The Lowdown: Witness the stunning celestials of the night sky and sip delicious beer and wine on Copper Mountain as part of Ales and Astronomy hosted by REI. Professional instructors will teach you about astronomy at this private venue — where you’re sure to score sweet views of the stars. All attendees must be 21 or older to register.
Amateur Astronomy Night
Where: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, 11999 State Highway 150, Mosca
When: Saturday, September 8, 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $20 per vehicle for park entry
The Lowdown: The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado is hands-down one of the best places to see the stars, so make sure you adventure south. Slightly eerie at night, this ever-so-silent park with the highest sand dune in North America is offering Amateur Astronomy Night, a chance to share knowledge with fellow astronomers and talk about the galaxies. It’s recommended that you bring your own telescope, but you can also just enjoy the stars at your leisure. Who knows? You might even see a UFO at this hotspot for sightings.
Twilight Dinner at the Umbrella Bar
Where: Umbrella Bar at Ten Peaks, Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Crested Butte
When: Friday, September 14, 7 p.m.
Cost: $40.95 per person
The Lowdown: Enjoy a delicious, picnic-style dinner and take in the night sky at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Drive up Prospect Road to Umbrella Bar at Ten Peaks and dine at twilight. Complimentary wine or beer will be served and a telescope will be set up on the deck for your viewing.