Parks After Dark - O Starry Night

Leah Walters
December 3, 2018

“It is time to expose the National Parks’ “dark” secret: that one of the most magical and immersive experiences you can have at a national park happens after the sun goes down” In the last decade, the national parks have been promoting their “Half of the Park is after Dark” campaign. This program embraces all that the natural parks have to offer after the sun goes down. 


  Park rangers deliver lectures centered around the stars. It is not uncommon for them to bring out laser pointers and explain the details on some of the most beautiful elements of our sky. These “star parties” allow visitors to see the natural, unfettered night sky, which many of  them have never seen.  However, the stars aren’t the only focus of these nighttime lectures. When the sun goes to sleep, a whole slew of animals in these parks wake up. Roughly 70 percent of all animals in the parks are nocturnal, and when you visit the parks at night, you get to experience their world. 

Night hikes

  Led by park rangers, these night hikes showcase an entirely different side of the park. The take you through the nocturnal part of the park. You get to explore the world of bats, owls, caves and more. The paths are illuminated by the millions of stars overhead and the sounds of the nighttime fill the space left behind by the thousands of daytime visitors. 

Camping under the stars 

  There is no better way to experience the natural beauty of the nighttime than to pitch a tent and immerse yourself. With millions of stars overhead and nature all around you, you are truly experience the parks the way that they were meant to be. 

“It is one of the most incredible experiences you can have in these natural landmarks: no crowds, no noises—just you and a million stars.” These stargazing events can range from lectures to camps, from a guided hike to solo star-gazes. The parks afford you the opportunity to see the unfettered night sky, but it is up to you to choose which way best suits you. No matter what you choose, it will an experience that you will never forget.