Looking to stare out into the darkness in the pursuit of understanding the vastness beyond our planet? Or maybe you simply enjoy the beauty of an unimpeded night sky? You’ve come to the right place. New Mexico stargazing is like no other stargazing destination due to its vast locations without city lights obscuring your view.
Top Locations for New Mexico Stargazing
Capulin Volcano National Monument
To many, a volcano might not be the first place that comes to mind when one mentions New Mexico stargazing. However, in this case, it should be. Capulin Volcano National Monument is a long-dormant cinder-cone volcano that provides insight into northeastern New Mexico’s diverse geological history. Moreover, the national monument provides visitors with another unique opportunity: Stargazing. The peak is International Dark Sky Association Gold-Tier Certified. Hence, it is some of the darkest and most unpolluted sky available to visitors almost anywhere in the world.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
On the other side of northern New Mexico, Chaco Culture National Historic Site presents visitors with another gold-tier certified dark sky. Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a concentration of ancestral lands and sites of the Pueblo people that sits between Albuquerque and Farmington. The national park service has taken many steps to preserve the area’s culture and mystery. As a result, the “Chaco Night Sky Program” was created. Through this program, some 14,000 visitors a year can view the amazingly dark night sky of New Mexico from the Chaco observatory and park telescopes.
Fort Union National Monument
Looking for a little history intermixed with New Mexico stargazing? Fort Union National Monument offers the best of both worlds. Established in 1851, Fort Union was designed to help defend sections of the Santa Fe trail as settlers moved westwards. Additionally, it provided the newly minted U.S territory with a military influence. Uniquely, the fort’s location is very remote and the neighboring hills protect it from the I-25 corridor’s development. At Fort Union, view some of the Milky Way’s most complex formations through the park’s telescopes and evening programs.
In Gila National Forest, there are plenty of outdoor activities and opportunities for recreation. Above all, the forest has a campground dedicated to New Mexico stargazing. Cosmic Campground is a camping site dedicated to being an international dark sky sanctuary. In addition, visitors can experience a 360-degree unobstructed view of the beautiful night sky of New Mexico. The campground even hosts ‘star parties’ with a partner group called “Friends of the Cosmic Campground.”
Rio Chama Rafting Trip
Convinced yet that New Mexico is one of the best states for stargazing? For those who want to stargaze with an extra dose of excitement, we bring you the Chama River Canyon Wilderness! Starting near Tierra Amarilla, visitors and families can float down sections of the Rio Chama. By day, discover the many red-rock canyon walls and badlands that inspired artist Georgia O’Keefe. In the evening, experience New Mexico stargazing after a day full of swimming and class II rapids. The high elevation and seclusion of the area provide visitors with the best and clearest night sky New Mexico has to offer.
Looking to hunt for stars atop an ancient volcano, aside from age-old Puebloan ruins, or among the walls of a military fort? Or maybe stargazing beside the flow of a wild and scenic river is more your style. Then, look no further! If you are interested in a float down the Rio Chama under the stars, learn more about New Mexico River Adventures and New Mexico Family Vacations. As one of the top-rated Rio Chama rafting outfitters, we would love to prove to you that New Mexico is one of the best states for stargazing!