Dark Sky Places in IL

List of darkest places in Illinois for stargazing, astrophotography, astrotourism, star parties, and astronomy club events. Often these are national and state parks and forests that are either remote or "protected" against light pollution.

National and state parks often let you stay overnight under the stars, hence their motto - "Half the park is after dark".

Bortle scale for sites is given where known. Also ask your local astronomy club for guidance as they will know the darkest places.

Anderson Lake State Forest 3
Apple River Canyon State Park 3
Big River State Forest
Hawthorn Woods
Hidden Springs State Forest
Homer Glen
Jim Edgar Panther Creek 3
Lowden-Miller State Forest
Middle Fork River State Forest 2
Palos Preserves
Sam Dale Lake 3
Sand Ridge State Forest
Shawnee National Forest
Siloam Springs State Park 3
Trail of Tears State Forest
Weinberg-King State Park

Light Pollution Map w/ Bortle

On the left is a 2019 satellite image of IL showing light pollution from the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center. On the right is a 2015 light pollution map showing sky brightness at the zenith from World Atlas data. Colors correspond approximately to the Bortle scale. Use as a guide to find the darkest sky locations near you.

IL night sky light pollution map