Top 5 National Parks for Astrophotography in the USA

Astrophotography—a fancy word for star or night sky photography—might just be the most challenging type of photography there is. It requires superb timing, intimate knowledge of the to-be-photographed landscape, determination and patience, and often a lot of adventure. This, of course, all makes it a super-fun thing to do. And there’s a certain type of place where photographing night skies has the highest success rates: national parks. Below, you’ll find the top 5 American national parks for astrophotography, which are all located in the USA.

Top 5 American National Parks for Astrophotography

Not surprisingly, all of the top 5 American national parks for astrophotography lie in the Southwest of the USA. This region is famous for its breathtaking scenery and desert remoteness, which results in wonderfully clear sies.

5. Great Basin National Park, Nevada

Great Basin National Park, Nevada, top 5 American national parks for astrophotography, usa
Great Basin National Park, Nevada

In the spring of 2016, Great Basin National Park became an official International Dark Sky Park, which is all the proof you need that this is one of the best USA national parks for astrophotography. Thousands of stars and five planets are visible with the naked eye on a clear, moonless night.

4. Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park, California, top 5 American national parks for astrophotography, usa
Joshua Tree National Park, California

An incredibly fun park in southern California, Joshua Tree National Park has everything you could possibly want in a night sky park. There are amazing campgrounds offering easy access to world-class photo locations; while dark skies and the park’s many photogenic features set you up for the perfect photoshoot.

3. Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Canyonlands National Park, Utah, top 5 American national parks for astrophotography, usa
Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Boasting one of the darkest skies in the USA, Canyonlands National Park is an International Dark Sky Park. Amazingly, its nights can be so dark that, according to the National Park Service; you may even be able to distinguish the rings of Saturn with the aid of binoculars. Needless to say, the views of the Milky Way are stunning.

2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, top 5 American national parks for astrophotography, usa
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Its high elevation and remote location make Grand Canyon National Park one of the top national parks for astrophotography. The combination of clear skies, absolutely no light pollution and accessible viewpoints; results in some of the world’s best astrophotography destinations.

1. Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah,top 5 American national parks for astrophotography, usa
Arches National Park, Utah

From a photography standpoint, rock arches are amazing subjects, offering some scale and interest to an image of a star-studded sky, and in Utah’s Arches National Park, there are more than 2,000 of them. This is one of the greatest American national parks anyway, but its sensational night skies and rock formations make it an exceptionally good one for astrophotography as well.

Have you ever been to any of these USA national parks for astrophotography? Did you leave with an epic photo? Tell us your story in the comments below!

About Bram


Bram is a Belgian guy who's currently living in the USA. For over four years now, he has been wandering the globe, with jobs here and there in between. So far, his travels have taken him to four continents and twenty-two countries. Bram likes to try different styles of travelling: from backpacker and adventurer to tourist and local, he has been all those stereotypes and probably will be many more in the future. You can follow his adventures on his travel blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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