Best time to travel to Phoenix, AZ

Stargazing in Phoenix, AZ

The night sky in the capital city of Arizona is breathtaking

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


Arizona is one of the top places for stargazing in the USA. Its capital city, Phoenix, also offers plenty of places to enjoy the night sky. Even though there are many lights in Phoenix, it is still limited by light pollution in terms of in-city stargazing options. In this article, you will find top stargazing spots within the city and just a few minutes drive away from it. The best time to stargaze in Phoenix is from April to early July.

Phoenix Mountains Preserve

Phoenix Mountains Preserve is the first one on our list. It's located just 20 minutes away from downtown, making it an easy-to-get-to place with no city lights around. Phoenix Mountains Preserve offers its visitors breathtaking panoramic views of the sky in the Phoenix area. It's also a great hiking zone, with an 11 pm closing time.

White Tank Mountain Regional Park

This option is for those who are new to stargazing. The Maricopa County Parks offers a guided tour with the possibility to learn the stars' names, the constellations, and the history of the night sky. The entry fee is $6, covering the parking fee and participation in the whole program. You can find more information about this tour on the official website in the External Resources below.

McDowell Mountain Regional Park

This breathtaking 21,099 acre spot serves as a fantastic place for stargazing. McDowell Mountain is surrounded by mountain ranges and offers a picturesque view of the northeast valley. Yes, this place reminds everyone of the beauty of our world. Oh, and there's basically no lighting to speak of.

Estrella Mountain Park

Estrella Mountain Park is another no-light spot, offering you a vast area for stargazing. This 60 acre zone of wild, desert land also hosts different stargazing events throughout the year. Check their website in the External Resources to get more information about working hours and any latest news.

Sonoran Desert Tours

From June to October, you have a chance to experience a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the night sky with Walker Remington in his Jeep. This four-wheel-drive vehicle will let you go further into the desert and enjoy the night sky you will never see in the city.

Lake Pleasant

Lake Pleasant is a large recreation area located northwest of Phoenix, Arizona. It's a dark location with almost no lights. You can get there by car and enjoy the night sky from the shoreline or parking lots. During the daytime, you can enjoy fishing, different water activities, hiking, biking, and camping. The park is open daily, year-round.

Practical info

When is the best time to stargaze in Phoenix, AZ?

To observe the stars in Phoenix, AZ, the most recommended time is from April until early July. However, this activity is feasible throughout the year, although weather factors, such as summer monsoons or the colder and unpredictable fall to winter months, could affect the experience. Confirm weather conditions and events programming with neighboring parks prior to engaging in stargazing activities. Show more

Where can I find the best stargazing spots within Phoenix city limits?

Phoenix city's White Tank Mountain Regional Park and Phoenix Mountains Preserve offer interesting stargazing experiences. To increase the chances of an optimal observation opportunity, consider driving for a couple of minutes outside Phoenix to places such as Estrella Mountain Park, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, or Lake Pleasant. These locations feature less intense light exposure and fewer illumination artifacts. Show more

What activities can I do during the daytime at Lake Pleasant?

During the day, Lake Pleasant has an abundance of outdoor activities to choose from, including fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking, swimming, and boating. The park is accessible seven days a week all year round, except December 25th. Vehicles pay an entry fee of $8, and potential visitors should refer to the website when deciding in which outdoor activities they want to participate and bring all required equipment to carry them out. Show more

Are there organized stargazing events at Estrella Mountain Park?

Estrella Mountain Park has a variety of stargazing events with options designed for both newcomers and experienced stargazers scheduled periodically year-round. It's advisable to check the dedicated website page to review the events calendar and required registration, equipment, or activity recommendations before attending. The park also offers a hiking trail where visitors can learn from the area's vegetation, fauna, and history through in-trail informative signage. Show more

When is the best time to join the Sonoran Desert Tours with Walker Remington?

Sonoran Desert Tours organized by Walker Remington offer exceptional stargazing experiences. Schedules run between June and October, seasons when the skies render optimal light conditions. With the possibility of a three-to-four-hour tour duration length, covering remote desert locations immersed in the natural atmosphere, all guests can expect a personalized and individualized stargazing experience at prices ranging from $120 to $140, depending on the package and the season. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin