True West Virginia Nightlife: Stargazing Must-Sees
The Mountain State is known for its incredible scenic beauty and outdoor adventure opportunities, but did you know its also been named the most under-the-radar stargazing destination in the United States? From remote locations to county parks, visit these places for glimpses of the stars above us:
Of course, Spruce Knob is known for being the state’s highest peak but it’s also a prime spot for stargazing. Hike the Whispering Spruce Trail to the observation tower of this remote “dark sky” destination for incredible panoramic views of West Virginia’s nightlife. On clear nights, vivid details of the Milky Way can be seen by the naked eye. This is the perfect outdoor adventure for a warm, summer night.
Green Bank Observatory
Stop by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory for an outdoor tour and learn about the amazing Green Bank Telescope, which stands at nearly 500 feet and weighs 17 million pounds. Here, you can simply lay down and watch the starry show above you or walk one of the many peaceful and intriguing trails that display the beauty of the quiet area. Make sure to leave your electronics in the car!
Calhoun County Park
This secret spot is known as one of the darkest places in the state. A dedicated “Dark Skies” park will be coming to Calhoun County Park in October 2021 for star lovers from all around. This is a beloved spot for amateur stargazers and die-hard astronomers to bring out their telescopes and enjoy West Virginia’s true nightlife. Make sure to use their new public telescope to get a closer look at West Virginia’s beautiful night sky. Here, you can spot the Milky Way on clear nights, a meteor shower in January and if you are lucky you might get to see the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights!
Stroll along the boardwalk and take it all in. Cranberry Glades Botanical Area is the ultimate stargazing location thanks to its distance from city lights. Hike the dirt trails that show the 750 acres of scenic land and when the sun goes down, get the full experience of this premiere stargazing spot. Here you will be able to enjoy crisp mountain air and some of the best views of the starry night sky in West Virginia.
Dolly Sods Wilderness
On top of the highest plateau east of the Mississippi River, Dolly Sods Wilderness is stargazing heaven. During the day, the scenery is breathtaking but when the sun goes down the real show begins. The dark skies and abundant daytime site-seeing make this a perfect destination for an overnight stay in the outdoors. Go to sleep with the starry sky above you and wake up to a spectacular view atop the wind-carved stone.
Stargazing newbie? Visit any of these wonderful outdoor spots to experience the beauty of West Virginia after dark. Take a tour to learn about stars and constellations at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Greenbank to understand more about the sky above.
Where will your stargazing adventure begin? Start planning by requesting a free copy of the 2024 Vacation Guide.
Travelers are encouraged to check the status of individual businesses and to review all Travel Responsibly guidelines before taking a trip.
This post was last updated on January 17, 2024