7 secret places for astrophotography in America’s darkest state

A man watching the Milky Way on a lost road in Utah. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.


Utah has some of the darkest night skies in North America. Its five US National Parks – Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef – are all famous for all kinds of photography, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding dark skies for astrophotography. The Beehive State is home to 24 International Dark Sky Parks, many of them Utah’s State Parks, which make its night skies the most protected in the world. But that’s not all. “Utah is one of the best places for astrophotography in North America for many good reasons,” says Dan Zafra from CaptureTheAtlas.com, who organizes astrophotography tours to Utah. “Most of the state is located on the Colorado Plateau, which offers two of the key factors you need to see the Milky Way—it’s away from the main sources of light pollution and it’s located at a very high elevation, with plenty of the national parks above 5,000 ft.” 

Read: How to photograph the Milky Way