Best time to travel to Flagstaff, AZ

Stargazing in Flagstaff, AZ

Check out the best places for stargazing in Flagstaff

Best time: all year round (best from April to July)


Flagstaff—surrounded by mountains, a desert, and ponderosa pine forests—was classified as the world's first International Dark Sky City in 2001. This city works hard to preserve the night sky and minimize light pollution. And this, in turn, makes Flagstaff one of the top places for stargazing in Arizona and the USA. You can stargaze there all year round; however, the best time for stargazing is from April to July. Check out this article if you want to visit Flagstaff and wonder which places are the best to enjoy the night sky. We've prepared something really special for you.

Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory is a special place where every night (approximately at 9 pm), local astronomers host a popular event called Cosmic Questions. They answer different questions from people interested in astronomy and let the visitors see some of the constellations through the telescopes. The ticket price ranges from $12 (per kid) to $22 (per adult). Being the epicenter of Flagstaff's stargazing community, Lowell Observatory also offers different nighttime tours throughout the year. You can get more information on their official website in the External Resources section below.

Sunset Crater Volcano Park

An intriguing name, isn't it? Sunset Crater Volcano Park is located 14 mi (22.5 km) away from the Flagstaff Mall on Highway 89. It features lots of random and amazing spots for stargazing. Just drive around the area and park your car wherever you feel would be perfect for watching the night sky. Also, there are plenty of forest roads that branch off and leave Sunset Crater Volcano Park, which means you can camp there for a night or two. Stargazers say this park is a top-notch spot to take your photography starscapes of the Milky Way. But shhh, don't tell anyone about this spot—it's a secret.

Buffalo Park

Buffalo Park is located right on McMillan Mesa in Flagstaff. It's a 215 acre zone with an animal-viewing park, buffalo, and you guessed it, plenty of stargazing spots. Every September, the park hosts the Annual Star Party—a three-day event where local photographers and stargazers get together to celebrate the night sky. You will find a special calendar in the External Resources below with a schedule of upcoming events.

Practical info

When is the best time to go stargazing in Flagstaff?

Visitors can delight in phenomenal stargazing experiences throughout the year amidst the majestic surroundings of Flagstaff, AZ. Between April and July, you can indulge in breathtaking views of the Milky Way, Jupiter, and Saturn, as the atmosphere is generally clear. Stargazers typically recommend visiting during this period since there is little light pollution that can obstruct your view. Show more

Where can I go camping and stargazing near Sunset Crater Volcano Park?

Sunset Crater Volcano Park is a renowned site featuring several captivating campsites. Lockett Meadow and Bonito campgrounds are two main popular ones. The 'International Dark Sky Association' recognizes the area as a 'star park,' providing the visitors with a spectacular opportunity to admire the wonders of the night sky from one of the best stargazing spots in America. If you prefer family camping, Lockett Meadow has a forest cabin and a cabin loop available. Show more

What can I see through telescopes during the Cosmic Questions event at Lowell Observatory?

At the Lowell Observatory's 'Cosmic Questions' event, visitors have a chance to explore the realm of space during their daily 9 pm event. Besides the informative session, visitors can make use of the telescopes and observe celestial bodies such as stars, Mars, and Uranus, along with various notable constellations such as the Pleiades and Orion Nebula. The guides will also provide fascinating insights into the characteristics and origins of these objects. Show more

Where is Buffalo Park located?

Situated atop McMillan Mesa in Flagstaff, Arizona, Buffalo Park is an expansive public park boasting over 200 acres. The park amenities include a spacious parking lot, picnic area, stargazing events, hiking trails, sports enclosures, animal viewing area, and birdwatching events. The park is easily accessible year-round and is a preferred destination for visitors seeking a serene picnic spot or a place to pursue outdoor activities. Show more

What is the Annual Star Party at Buffalo Park?

The Annual Star Party is a three-day event that takes place every September in Buffalo Park, AZ, in celebration of the night sky's majesty. The event spans three days and brings together local stargazers and photographers to learn and share their experiences and knowledge of astronomy. Guests can learn about astronomical instruments and telescopes, enjoy music and interactive exhibits. The event organizers give you an ideal opportunity to observe and learn about the cosmos and the planets that are not usually visible to the naked human eye. More information on upcoming events is available on their official website. Show more

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