Stargaze at Leadville-Twin Lakes, Colorado

        If you dream of mystical dark skies full of stars, plan a visit to Leadville-Twin Lakes, Colorado! Here you can peer deep into the universe, see the Milky Way, and make a wish on a shooting star.

        In fact, our stargazing is so good that in the future, we hope to become a certified Dark Sky Community. This summer, you can enjoy the night sky with our free stargazing programs.

        Stargazing Night Sky at Leadville Twin Lakes by @z_armstrong5280

        Photo: @z_armstrong5280

        Just How Dark Are these Skies?

        Each month near the time of the new moon, Elliott Gorsuch ventures into the night to measure the sky’s darkness. A Colorado Mountain College student and Visit Leadville-Twin Lakes intern, Elliott is collecting the year’s worth of data needed to apply to DarkSky International. For each reading he takes with the Sky Quality Meter-Lens, Elliott also tracks data like latitude and longitude, cloud cover, temperature, and time of night to gain a full sense of the sky’s darkness.

        His readings show more than 90 percent of true dark skies near Twin Lakes and in wilderness areas. Where might skies be darker than that? Very remote places, like above the middle of the ocean. There, you can see stars that are only visible with very dark skies.

        Completing the work needed to apply for certification will take a couple of years. In addition to collecting data and doing community outreach, locations like Leadville-Twin Lakes need to pass lighting ordinances that protect night skies.

        Twin Lakes in winter by @zakappleton

        Photo: @zakappleton

        Why Do Dark Skies Matter?

        When night becomes day, it disrupts navigation and natural rhythms of wildlife, ecosystems, and human health, says DarkSky International. It separates us from our night sky heritage, which has “inspired science, religion, philosophy, art, and literature.” Outdoor lighting fixtures can waste energy and money, and studies show that lighting does not prevent crime. Learn more about light pollution and how to bring about darker skies.

        Pro tip: If you want to find the best stargazing, Elliott reports that areas near Tennessee Pass are often the darkest of the ones he surveys.

        Stargazing Night Sky at Leadville Twin Lakes by @terrible1stebs

        Photo: @terrible1stebs

        Join Stargazing Programs at Twin Lakes

        To see the dark skies for yourself, join free stargazing programs this summer. Joan and Leo from the US Forest Service lead these programs, sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm.

        ⭐ Where to Meet & What to Bring

        For all programs:

        • Meet at Red Rooster Boating/Fishing Site on Highway 82, on the Northwest shore of Twin Lakes, Colorado.
        • Please dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, bring a camp chair or blanket and a headlamp with a red (or low-light color) setting.
        • All programs are weather-dependent and may be cancelled if there is rain or lightning.

        1) A Dark Sky Program at Twin Lakes

        Are you intrigued about the night sky? Ever wondered about the stories behind the stars? Join Joan Veilleux from the Forest Service for a safe night hike and some stargazing on the shores of Twin Lakes. Learn how to see and hike in the dark. Listen to stories of the past and present and learn how to reduce light pollution! (See Where to Meet & What to Bring, above)

        • Saturday, June 8, 9:00 p.m.
        • Saturday, July 6, 9:00 p.m.
        • Saturday, August 10, 8:30 p.m.
        • Saturday, August 31, 8:30 p.m.

        2) Constellations & Telescope Viewing at Twin Lakes

        Introducing Leo Pareti from the Forest Service, who will present a “Scorpion star party” underneath the new moon of July. Gaze through an advanced telescope and see deep sky objects within the Milky Way galaxy! (See Where to Meet & What to Bring, above)

        • Friday, July 5, 9:00 p.m.
        • Friday, August 30, 8:30 p.m.

        3) Full Moon Telescope Program at Twin Lakes

        Join Leo Pareti from the Forest Service and learn about the history of the moon and how the full moon affects forest animals. Gaze at detailed views of craters and valleys of the moon through a telescope. (See Where to Meet & What to Bring, above)

        • Friday, July 19, 8:30 p.m.

        4) Meteor Shower Program at Twin Lakes

        Join Leo Pareti from the Forest Service and as the sky darkens, learn about the upcoming best meteor shower of the year – The Perseids – and when and where to view it. (See Where to Meet & What to Bring, above)

        • Monday, August 13, 8:30 p.m.

        We hope to see you there!

        Full moon night sky at Leadville Twin Lakes by @stevoco1979

        Photo: @stevoco1979

        More on Dark Skies at Leadville-Twin Lakes

        See “Enjoy Dark Skies at Leadville-Twin Lakes” to see where to go, find stargazing resources, and learn how to preserve dark skies while on your trip.

        Cover photo: @candyscaptures

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