Potential Sites


There are many potential places for observing under dark skies in Washington. I've been looking at:

State Parks

On the plus side they allow camping and many sites can be reserved. On the down side, campgrounds often have safety lighting and some RV campers do their best to illuminate entire campgrounds. State parks in the Puget Sound area tend to be heavily forested, but some camp sites have relatively open skies. Also, some state parks have large playfields near the camping areas that are open and could be used for observing. I haven't been to the following parks, but am interested in checking them out:

Official State Parks Website

National Forests

Campgrounds in the National Forests are usually primitive and lighting is less of an issue, but many are in heavily forested areas and / or aren't reservable. Important: It is generally ok to camp anywhere on National Forest lands with the following guidelines:

When I was a kid, our family explored the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and we found a lot of great camping places in old clear-cuts and on small hills. These spots come and go as trees regrow and fires, storms, and logging open new places. I haven't had a chance to explore much recently, but I plan on doing more over the next few years.

Trailheads

A lot of trailheads have mid to large parking areas that open the forest enough for good observing. See the Washington Trail Association for a starting point.

Old Fire Lookouts

Trees are regrowing on a lot of the old fire lookout sites and the roads to some are very bad. However, some are worth considering. See:

http://www.firelookout.org/ (Go to the "Towers" page, select Washington, and then start clicking on regions.)

http://www.firetower.org/

For starters, National Lookout near Ashford looks like a great spot, potentially. It's on my short list of places to explore - let me know if you've been there or make it up there some time.

Private Campgrounds / RV Parks

Again,campground lighting can be a real issue. I remember staying at one place near Long Beach that had a large floodlight in the middle of the property that effectively lit up every single camping site. Most people were there in RVs and didn't care one bit.

Specific sites I currently want to explore:

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Last Updated: 2/3/08