10 Great Stargazing Trails

In 1994, an earthquake took out the power in Los Angeles in the middle of the night, waking residents up, who then called 911 in fear of what they saw in the sky above them. What they were all seeing for the first time was the Milky Way galaxy. How much truth there is to this story is debated, however, it is a strong representation of how disconnected most of the world has become with the night sky. An article written by Science Advances revealed that 80 percent of the world live under light-polluted skies. Although seeing the Milky Way may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of rail-trails, many of them traverse some of the darkest portions of our country, making them ideal places to see stars as you pedal your way through changing landscapes. Here is a list of nine of those trails. 


George S. Mickelson Trail

South Dakota

Photo by: Teresa Hofer, Rapid City, SD


Great Shasta Rail Trail


Photo by: Nicholas Shirley


Rio Grande Trail


Photo courtesy of www.joelhotka.com, copyright 2018 all rights reserved


Ka'ena Point Trail


Photo: Peter Stahl


Route of the Olympian


Photo by: Kim Tashjian


Caprock Canyons State Park Trailway


Photo by: Alfred Lockwood Photograph, Keller, Texas


Wood River Trail


Photo by: Richard Hatch


Moab Canyon Pathway


Photo by: (c) 2018 Diana Robinson Photography


Tobacco River Memorial Trail


Photo by: David Payne at J Bar L Ranch
While all these trails are spectacular for stargazing, we would just like to remind you that some of them may be closed after dark, however, you will be able to either camp overnight on campsites near the trail or spend the night in a nearby town or city. Another thing to consider is that if you are biking these trails at night, you should be mindful of any road crossings, as well as any spots where the trail gets bumpy. Although it is easier to see stars when there are no lights around you, this also means that the trail will be harder to see. Flashlights and headlights would be good tools to bring along and can be turned off when you would like to take a moment (or a few) to pause and look above you. We hope you enjoy these trails and hope you have a fun time hunting down some brighter stars.

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