Discover the Breathtaking Yosemite National Park Night Sky in 5 Steps

Yosemite National Park is a prime destination for stargazers and night sky enthusiasts, offering breathtaking views of the cosmos against the backdrop of its iconic granite cliffs and towering sequoia trees. With minimal light pollution and dark skies, Yosemite provides an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonder of the night sky.

Naturalist Walks and Programs

Yosemite Hospitality offers a 90-minute walking tour called Glacier Point Starry Night Skies, which takes visitors on a nighttime exploration of Yosemite’s natural areas. While not a dedicated stargazing tour, participants can expect to learn about sensory adaptations in humans and animals, as well as the importance of protecting the park’s dark skies. The tour costs $20 per person and is limited to 35 participants, with personal flashlights and traction devices required in winter. This tour is not suitable for young children due to variable conditions.

Yosemite Stargazing Tours

Yosemite National Park Night Sky

Scenic Wonders recommends Glacier Point, Badger Pass ski area, and open areas of Yosemite Valley as the best places for stargazing in the park. Stargazing tours are available, providing opportunities to use telescopes and learn about meteor showers, constellations, comets, and planets. The Starry Skies Over Yosemite/Wawona Tour, for instance, is a public service offered by the national park and astronomy clubs, capped at seventy participants per tour group. This tour costs $5 per person and lasts for an hour and a half, exploring the skies while learning about the folklore surrounding what you see.

Yosemite Conservancy Stargazing Programs

Yosemite Conservancy offers guided stargazing programs led by knowledgeable naturalists. These two-hour programs in Yosemite Valley help visitors experience the magic of the park’s night skies. Registration is required and costs $25 per person, with children age five and under able to attend for free, but a waiver must be filled out for them under the ‘minors’ section.

Amateur Astronomers and Stargazing Events

In the summer months of June, July, and August, amateur astronomers often set up telescopes at Glacier Point on Saturdays. Astronomy walks or talks may also be offered in Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, and Wawona. Visitors should check with the park service regarding equipment and for the current schedule of these events.

Explore Yosemite’s Night Sky

Yosemite Conservancy offers a program called Explore Yosemite’s Night Sky, where a naturalist will use a laser pointer to highlight specific stars, planets, and constellations. The program covers topics such as star science, constellations, planetary science, light speed, meteors, meteorites, and the story, lore, and mythology rooted in cultures both locally and across the world. This program is offered every week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from September 28, 2023, to November 04, 2023, from 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM. Registration is required and costs $25 per person.

Yosemite National Park’s night sky is a true wonder to behold, offering visitors a chance to disconnect from the distractions of everyday life and immerse themselves in the beauty of the cosmos. Whether you choose to join a guided tour, attend a stargazing event, or explore the night sky on your own, the park’s dark skies and stunning natural landscapes provide an unparalleled stargazing experience.


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