State Park Dark Sky Sites In PNW

PNW Dark Sky

We recently have taken the time to supplement the 2024 solar eclipse state parks and cities maps with some new state park maps for dark sky sites. During this endevour, we took the time to map each and every state park to their respective dark sky parks. We are not saying that these sites are available for astronomy and that one should go to these places expecting to allow one do astronomy, but rather this can be used as an aide to help determine areas to go visit in these states. The rules vary on what times these parks are open and whether they allow visitors to use the site at night. Some of these sites may be open at night, but most sites will not be.

A great example is Cottonwood Canyon State Park, where there are camping sites in the park, so one can use the camping area and some of the related areas to support some astronomy.

The overall state park light pollution map articles for Oregon, Washington, and Idaho have been linked.

But we thought it would be really nice and useful to isolate specific Bortle 1 and 2 scale sites. These tables show this information, followed by the map below.

StateNumber of Parks
Table 1: Bortle Scale 1 State Parks (Author Created)

It is interesting to see that there are only Bortle 1 State Park managed sites, in the state of Oregon. Moreover, as Table 2 shows below, the number of Bortle 2 sites is greatest in Oregon.

StateNumber of Parks
Table 2: Bortle Scale 2 State Parks (Author Created)

Although Oregon might have the greatest number of total Bortle 1 and Bortle 2 site at 31, there are significantly more Oregon State Parks than Idaho and Washington have by themselves. Plus, Oregon has more State Parks than Washington and Idaho combined. Nevertheless, we see that

StateTotal State ParksBortle 1 State ParksBortle 2 State ParksPercent Of Parks Bortle 1 & 2
Table 3: Showing Overall State Park Statistics

Looking at the map, Bortle 1 scale sites are the black markers, while the Bortle 2 scale sites are in dark purple markers. We will show more information below about specific parks and URLs to each park.

Here are a list of these sites sorted by the Bortle site and state.

StateBortle 1 SitesBortle 2 Sites
OregonBates State Park
Pete French Round Barn State Heritage Site
Frenchglen Hotel State Heritage Site
Fort Rock State Natural Area
Chandler State Wayside
Goose Lake State Recreation Area
Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area
Wallowa Lake State Recreation Area
Catherine Creek State Park
Minam State Recreation Area
Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area
Cottonwood Canyon State Park
Clay Myers State Natural Area at Whalen Island
White River Falls State Park
Cascadia State Park
Prineville Reservoir State Park
Unity Lake State Recreation Area
Collier Memorial State Park
Jackson F. Kimball State Recreation Site
Joseph H. Stewart State Recreation Area
Saddle Mountain State Natural Area
Hug Point State Recreation Site
Cape Lookout State Park
Sitka Sedge State Natural Area
Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park
Stonefield Beach State Recreation Site
Tokatee Klootchman State Natural Site
Cape Blanco State Park
Humbug Mountain State Park
Arizona Beach State Recreation Site
Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor
IdahoN/AHenrys Lake State Park
Harriman State Park
Ashton-Tetonia Trail
Bear Lake State Park
City of Rocks National Reserve
Castle Rocks State Park
Priest Lake State Park
WashingtonN/ABrooks Memorial State Park
Fields Spring State Park
Camp William T. Wooten State Park
Lyons Ferry State Park
Palouse Falls State Park
Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park
Pearrygin Lake State Park
Crawford State Park
Leadbetter Point State Park
Table 4: Showing State Park Bortle Scale Breakdown

To learn more about the Bortle Scale, check out this article. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and make sure to come back to check for interesting articles like this, which are posted every week!

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