Here are some great places to view the Milky Way and the night sky in the state of Idaho. These places are spread out over the entire state of Idaho to provide the maximum amount of opportunities for everyone in the state, regardless of where one lives.
Craters of the Moon National Preserve
Located between the cities of Acro and Carry, the Craters of the Moon National Preserve provides a plethora of lava fields for exploration during the day and wonderfully dark skies for astronomy viewing. Craters of the Moon Campground has 51 campsites, none of which can be reserved in advance, and include water, restrooms, charcoal grills, and trash containers. The pristine night sky in the area provides a fabulous night sky viewing opportunity for all.
Owyhee River Wilderness
Located on the high basalt plateaus of Owyhee County in southwestern Idaho in the western United States, the Owyhee River Wilderness is the second-largest U.S. Wilderness Area that is not located within a National Forest, National Park, or National Wildlife Refuge. Important things to note is that the wilderness areas do not allow motorized or mechanical equipment including bicycles and camping and fishing require the proper permits. There are no roads or buildings are constructed and there is also no logging or mining. This makes the Wilderness an amazing place to do astronomy as there is no light pollution from surrounding areas. However, this means that everything brought has to be carried into the area.
Idaho Panhandle State Forests (Priest Lake)
These forests in the top of the Idaho panhandle are a great place to potentially view the Aurora Borealis in the winter (when they are bright enough) and a great place to view the Milky Way in the summer. Moreover, the state forests are a wonderful place to visit the outdoors and be a great outdoor adventure.
Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve
This area is a 1,416-square-mile dark-sky preserve near the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, which was designated on December 18, 2017 and became the first gold-tier dark sky preserve in the United States. There are plethora options for entering the reserve year round; however, there could be issues with snow. Summer is a great time t0 visit as there are hiking, biking, white water river rafting, fishing, and camping in addition to the astronomy. In the winter, there are great winter sports and activities such as skiing.
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