Dark Sky Parks in MT

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

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

The IDA column indicates if a site is IDA-certified. Bortle scale for sites is given where known. Also use your local astronomy club for guidance as they will know the darkest places.

NAME BORTLE
Ackley Lake State Park 2
Bannack State Park 2
Beaverhead Rock State Park 2
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
Bitterroot National Forest
Bob Marshall Wildnerness
Buffalo Camp 1
Custer Gallatin National Forest
Fish Creek State Park 2
Flathead National Forest 1
Flathead National Forest
Glacier National Park 2
Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest
Hell Creek 1
Kootenai National Forest
Logan State Park 2
Lolo National Forest
Medicine Rocks State Park 2
Painted Rocks State Park 1
Russell National Wildlife Reserve
Thompson Chain-of-Lakes 2
Upper Missouri River Breaks


Light Pollution Map w/ Bortle

On the left is a 2019 satellite image of MT 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.

MT night sky light pollution map