Located 34 miles from Portland, Oregon, Stub Stewart State Park is a wonderful place to visit and stargaze in. Due to its proximity to Portland, Oregon, it is the most easily accessible place for most to do astronomy in a darker site. The park has over 1,800 acres of land and opened in 2007, and at the time was the 1st full service Oregon State park to open in 35 years. The location is often used by OMSI and the Rose City Astronomers for star parties. Come learn why you should stargaze here and visit! For specific astronomy information and resources about this state park, check out our article.
Bonus: you could see the Aurora Borealis
On a night that has really high Aurora Borealis number, greater than 7, you can see the it from the park
Dark Skies Relative To Location
Because it is located so close to Portland, Stub Stewart State Park is less than 35 miles and is about an hours drive away depending on traffic. Although close to Portland, the skies are darker than almost anywhere else in a 35 mile radius of Portland that is as easily accessible. The site used to be a Bortle scale Blue zone, but has since changed to a green or yellow as the light pollution from the greater Portland metropolitan area has increased.
It has been said, the site was created with astronomy in mind as one of the recreational activities. This has led to the site becoming extremely popular for those doing astronomy and an extremely reliable place to do astronomy.
Reliable Views Of Western Skies
Because of the light dome that protects the East from the city lights, the views of the Eastern Skies is less than ideal. Objects have to rise ?? above to get a view, however, the views to the West are completely unobstructed. Therefore, the views of the Western skies are wonderful for viewing celestial objects.
Used For Star Parties
Because of its proximity to Portland, Stub Stewart has become a popular and widely used destination for star parties. Therefore, by becoming familiar with the park, you can learn where the best places to for example, view meteor showers are.
Amenities And Activities
The amount of daytime activities and night amenities are great! The park rangers will often turn the day use bathroom lights red and leave it open for use by astronomers when they know that a crowd will be there. Moreover, the daytime use areas provide a plethora of activities ranging from horseback riding, 27 hole disk golf holes spread out over 2 courses, and over 30 miles of hiking trails. There are almost 100 campsites available year round that can be booked through Reserve America, up to 6 months in advance.
Although the vast majority of those using the park for astronomy live and return to the Portland area after stargazing, the park is uniquely positioned. The park sites roughly 1/2 way between Portland and cities on the coast on the Sunset Highway, US 26. Therefore, the park could be used by stargazers heading to the coast or as a stopover for exploration of the area.