Top Trails for Stargazing

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. 

Photo by: Teresa Hofer, Rapid City, SD
Photo by: Nicholas Shirley
Photo courtesy of, copyright 2018 all rights reserved
Photo: Peter Stahl
Photo by: Kim Tashjian
Photo by: Alfred Lockwood Photograph, Keller, Texas
Photo by: Richard Hatch
Photo by: (c) 2018 Diana Robinson Photography
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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