Dark sky places in MN

List of darkest places in Minnesota 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.

NAME BORTLE
Baylor Regional Park
Big Bog State Recreation Area 2
Boundary Waters Canoe National Wildlife Reserve 2
Cascade River State Park 2
Chippewa National Forest
Garden Island State Recreation Area 2
George Crosby Manitou State Park 2
Hayes Lake State Park 2
Itasca State Park 2
Judge Magney State Park 1
La Salle Lake State Recreation Area 2
Northwest Angle
Old Mill State Park 2
Savanna Portage State Park 2
Scenic State Park 2
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park 2
Superior National Forest
Temperance River State Park 2
Voyageurs National Park 2
Zippel Bay State Park 2


Light Pollution Map w/ Bortle

On the left is a 2019 satellite image of MN 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.

MN night sky light pollution map