Cherry Springs State Park Stargazing – What to Know Before You Go

  • Stargazing at Cherry Springs is a stellar experience; but don’t forget there are many daytime activities to enjoy before the nighttime show. Be sure to plan your trip to include other great area attractions and experiences.
  • Lodging is limited near Cherry Springs State Park – be sure to consult our places to stay page before you arrive and make your lodging reservations.
  • Shuttle service to the park is available with reservations.
  • Guided night sky tours are available with reservations.
  • Plan ahead
    • Watch the moon phase.
      • Visit during last quarter or new moon timeframes to see the true dark skies and the milky way.
      • Observing the moon when it’s near first quarter is great for novice telescope owners.
      • While the full moon limits the experience for some, it is still amazing to witness.
    • Book your stay early, especially on popular weekends near the new moon or special events.
    • Bring an old-fashioned map in addition to your navigation system.
    • Services are limited near the park.
      • Towns nearby offer fuel, food and lodging.
  • Dress for the weather
    • It’s always colder on top of the hill at the park with the clearest nights usually being the coldest
    • An extra layer is great, but so is a blanket and maybe even a camp chair (there is limited seating)
    • Even in the summer, pants and a sweatshirt are usually needed later in the evening.
  • Bring only a dim red light to allow your eyes to adapt
    • Avoid full-sized flashlights or even smart phone flashlights.
    • Adapt smaller flashlights with red cellophane available at the park welcome kiosk.
    • Smart phones should also be adapted with red cellophane.
      • Use the lock screen as your light when it’s dark.
  • Check the forecast
    • Even clouds will prevent observing, so check specialized observing forecasts such as the Clear Sky Chart (below).
  • Arrive before dark
    • Become familiar with park facilities and where to observe.
      • Use headlights when driving at all times after dark in the parking area. Safety first.
  • Set up for stargazing in the Night Sky Public Viewing Area (grassy field beyond earthen berms)
    • For safety and a better experience, avoid observing in the parking areas.
    • A special overnight area is also available for those with a telescope and staying overnight.
      • Find out more about this option prior to visiting on the park webpage.
  • Enhance your visit with a guided telescope tour or other programs
    • Many programs fill in advance or require registration.
    • Scheduled programs will be cancelled in the event of rain or thunder.
    • Programs will be shortened or adapted on cloudy nights.