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CA Dark Skies

Dark Sky Sites in California

Find the darkest skies in California for stargazing, astrophotography, and club events.

CA Nighttime Lights

2019 satellite image showing nighttime lights from the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center.

CA nighttime satellite image



CA Light Pollution

2015 light pollution map showing sky brightness at the zenith from World Atlas data. Colors correspond approximately to the Bortle scale (see sidebar). Gray areas are the darkest skies.

CA light pollution map



CA National Parks

Map showing names of national parks, forests, reserves, and other protected areas that often offer the darkest locations for stargazing.

CA parks map

Darkest Locations in CA

Depending on your gear and what you are looking at, there may be many locations that are dark enough. This table attempts to list the darkest sites possible in from a Bortle/SQM perspective.

      1. Dark site
      2. Bortle scale
      1. Anza-Borrego Desert SP
      2. 2
      1. Death Valley NP
      2. 1
      1. Joshua Tree NP
      2. 2
      1. Klamath NF
      2. 1-2
      1. Lassen NF
      2. 1
      1. Mendocino NF
      2. 1-2
      1. Modoc NF
      2. 1
      1. Redwood NP
      1. Yosemite NP
      2. 1-2