Morley Nelson Snake River National Conservation Area Unique Astronomy

Morley Nelson Snake River National Conservation Area

Located in the valleys of the canyon of the Snake River, the Morley Nelson Snake River National Conservation Area is to preserve this remarkable wildlife habitat, while providing for other compatible uses of the land. Some 800 pairs of hawks, owls, eagles and falcons come each spring to mate and raise their young. The NCA is “nature in the rough,” with few public facilities. However, the birds and their unique environment offer rich rewards to those willing to experience the NCA on its own terms and who have patience to fit into the natural rhythms of life in this special place. Here cliffs towering up to 700 feet above the Snake River provide countless ledges, cracks and crevices for nesting raptors. These magnificent birds launch from their cliffside aeries to soar and hunt on warm air currents rising from the canyon floor. 

This provides a great wilderness area for viewing the night sky close to Boise and some of the areas are used by the Boise Astronomical Society for their star parties. The Morley Nelson Snake River National Conservation Area is a great place to go!


  • How far outside of Boise? ~40 miles depending on the route taken. This makes the drive around 1 hour depending on traffic and stops.
  • Google Maps Location

Overnight Accommodations

Primitive camping is allowed throughout the NCA. Avoid areas where birds are nesting and observe these low-impact camping practices:
If you pack it in, pack it out, and always remember to LEAVE NO TRACE!
Use stoves to cook instead of campfires. Open campfires are allowed in the NCA only in improved campsites with fire rings. To dispose of human waste and waste water, dig a small hole at least 200 feet from water and 6-8 inches deep. Do not bury food waste in the hole, as animals will dig it up.


The current weather can be found for the closest town of Orchard, Idaho, which is 20 miles from the conservation area.

Current Seeing Conditions/Forecast Charts 

The dark sky chart below show when the best times to view and provide a great chart.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and make sure to view our other unique astronomy sites such as this one for more places to view astronomy in the Pacific Northwest.

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