Here is a list of the Top 5 Dark Sky Sites within a 2 hour drive of Seattle, Washington that are well recognized as good locations to visit and explore. There are other locations that we could have added, but want to make sure that the spots in all directions for some variety. For a complete and full list of unique astronomy sites in the Pacific Northwest, check out our map for a complete list, as these are just some of the available options.
North Cascades National Park
The first National Scenic Highway in the United States, the North Cascades Highway provides visitors with sweeping vistas, alpine meadows, wildlife watching opportunities and recreation galore. This mountain scenic drive begins in Sedro Woolley and is closed from mid-November to April. Always make sure to check out road conditions before heading out. As part of Washington State Route 20’s path across through the state, there are several unique places such Diablo Lake Overlook, Washington Pass Overlook, Ross Lake Overlook, and more for great observing.
Rockport State Park
Notable for its nearly 600 acres (240 ha) of old-growth forest. The park offers five miles of hiking trails, and some great forest views. Although the day use area is open from 6am am to dusk, this state park often has little or no cloud cover during the summer. This means that the surrounding areas provide a great area for clear skies.
Mount Rainier National Park
Established on March 2, 1899, as the 4th national park in the United States, encompassing 236,381 acres, Mount Rainier National Park is a wonderful landscape for enjoying the outdoors. Activities such as camping, hiking, and picnics. There are a plethora of nature to enjoy. There are a plethora of astronomy options available, which some tips can be found here. Some opportunities for stargazing include Frozen Lake via Sourdough Ridge Trail and the Paradise Inn.
Olympic National Park
The Olympic Peninsula Loop is a spectacular way to see the natural beauty and wildlife of Washington State. This scenic drive, which defines the perimeter of the Olympic National Park, is over 300 miles of mountains, rainforests, wildlife, waterfalls, and viewpoints to explore from start to finish. With a wide diversity of landscapes, there are a plethora of Milky Way and astronomy viewing and photography opportunities awaiting your discovery.
For dark sky sites closer to Portland, check out this article and make sure to come back next week for more great content like this. Connect with us on our social media such as Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on new articles, events, and more.