Who would say no to a romantic night under the stars? Many people love stargazing because it lets them explore the unknown and see the raw beauty of the Universe. It gives you a sense of wonder and amazement – with the realization of how vast and mind-blowing space is. If you happen to love this activity, we’ve got just the thing for you! Here are the best stargazing spots in Flagstaff you need to visit right away.
These 5 stargazing spots in Flagstaff are worth visiting:
Buffalo Park is perfect for individuals who can’t really drive out of town. If you can barely squeeze in a stargazing activity to your schedule, you might as well come here, since it is located on McMillan Mesa northeast of Downtown Flagstaff. The 215-acre park used to be an animal-viewing and western-styled park. Nowadays, families come here to spend quality time with each other, and also to let their kids and dogs run loose. There is a 2-mile loop that goes through the park that allows you to see the stars with the San Francisco Peaks and Mount Elden as part of the backdrop.
Novice and veteran hikers alike, including athletes, also flock this park to access the vast network of trails including the Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS), Coconino National Forest and the Arizona Trail. It’s best if you can come during day time so you can hike and look around. As you enter Buffalo Park, there is already a trail offshoot that takes you to a beautiful pond. You can spend some time looking at wildlife such as waterfowl and ducks (during winter and spring). Chance encounters with mule deer also happen, so keep your eyes peeled! While waiting for the ravens to appear and make acrobatic flights, you should just appreciate the meadow and mixed forest vegetation that make the area much more striking.
Don’t forget to take a photo beside the historic bronze sculpture of a buffalo at the entrance because it’s a must for every visitor!
September is a good time to check out Buffalo Park because it is the Annual Star Party. Many locals, star fanatics, and photographers gather to celebrate the amazing night sky!
Location: 2400 N Gemini Rd, Flagstaff, Arizona 86004
Since we are talking about the 5 best stargazing spots in Flagstaff, we made sure that the home of Pluto’s discovery is also included in the list. Lowell Observatory is only a five-minute drive from NAU, and it is known as the historic observatory used to discover Pluto. To this day, the place still houses astronomers who study various celestial features. It is definitely one of the popular places that many people want to visit when they hear the word Flagstaff. You will fall in love with the stunning night sky coupled with crisp, fresh air. There are several telescopes available here – the original Avan Clark & Sons telescope – included.
If you want to view other celestial bodies, feel free to do so! The high-tech telescopes provide breathtaking images of the Milky Way that you will remember forever. Keep in mind that Lowell Observatory is the epicenter of Flagstaff’s stargazing community. Not to mention, it is an integral part of Flagstaff’s history.
Do you want the ultimate stargazing activity? Then you should consider visiting and saving up for a VIP experience at the Giovale Open Deck Observatory. It is a private, personalized 90-minute expedition across the stars, and you’ll get to see the cosmos through the advanced telescopes. It also lets you choose what to observe, and includes a laser-guided voyage across the night sky. Sounds fancy, huh? Well, this experience is all about re-imagining one’s stargazing experience.
Location: 1400 W Mars Hill Rd, Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
Sunset Crater Volcano Park
You can definitely say that past destruction has paved the way for a rebirth of a landscape. It was around 1085 when the ground began to shake and lava spewed high into the air. That’s right, the eruption of Sunset Crater Volcano forever changed the landscape and the lives of those living there. The visitors today can now admire the volcanic feature and the beauty of the red rocks. The night sky, coupled with the vistas, makes it one of the best stargazing spots in Flagstaff. It is located just 14 miles away from the Flagstaff Mall on Highway 89, so you don’t really have to travel so far just to get to a good view point.
Sunset Crater Volcano Park has the same entrance fee and hours as the Wupatki National Monument. Just drive around the area, and keep your eyes peeled for the perfect spot. If you want to branch off and leave the park, don’t worry because some multiple forest roads will provide access. You can always go on a bigger adventure and camp out for an even memorable stargazing experience! It’s the time to test your photography skills.
Just prepare the $25 fee to get into the Sunset Crater- Wupatki area. The fee is per private vehicle, and already lasts for a week. That means if you chance upon a cloudy sky, you can always come back the next day or the day after that! Star fans may also avail of the Flagstaff Annual Pass ($45) that covers the entrance fee to both Sunset Crater and Wupatki for a whole year.
Location: Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument 6400 N. Hwy. 89, Flagstaff, Arizona
Wupatki National Monument
The Wupatki National Monument is apparently one of the good stargazing spots in Flagstaff. If you don’t believe us, then it’s up to you! You can take comfort in the fact that you’ll be looking at both the landscape, and the celestial bodies above you. Feel the rush of walking into ancient villages, and just relive history. Come night time, the area becomes alive with the starry sky.
There are some killer stars in this area because it is far from the city proper, hence, the almost absence of light pollution. Nothing will block your view across the horizon because there are only a couple of trees. No matter where you look at, whether it’s to your west, or east, the view will be pretty spectacular!
If you just visited Sunset Crater Volcano Park, you can also head straight to Wupatki National Monument. The fee you previously paid already grants you access so you can enjoy the beautiful night sky! Not tom mention, it is such a great and informative stop for around 45 minutes. The impressive ruins that display the once-thriving native American community look stunning under the bright stars!
Location: 25137 N Wupatki Ln, Flagstaff, Arizona
Go ten miles south of Flagstaff and you’ll arrive at a beautiful place that gives unparalleled celestial views. Some off-roaders or mountain bikers might already be familiar with the place because they laud its unique canyon environment. The dry, upland pine forest will soon turn into lush greenery as you descend, as if transporting you to a completely different world.
There is also a trail that winds through the bottom of the shallow canyon. It is definitely a secluded retreat from the heat. When it’s night time, you’ll just wish you can look at the skies forever because it’s breathtaking beyond words. Some outdoor enthusiasts would recommend you to hike during springtime through late fall due to the snow in the winter months.
Location: Flagstaff, Arizona
Have you been to any of these stargazing spots in Flagstaff before?
Check out other related articles: Be in Awe of the Arizona Skies With the Interactive Stargazing Experience at Arizona’s Famous Observatory and 10 Places to Stargaze in Arizona That Will Leave You Breathless.
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