Sun Lakes State Park


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Location:

Near Coulee City.  Roughly 4 hours from Tacoma.


Directions:


Description:

Sun Lakes is a large state park near Dry Falls.  Quite a few of the campsites have open skies.  Look at the park'sOfficial Website for descriptions of individual sites.  There is also the Sun Lakes Resort right next to the state park.  The resort has cabins, RV sites, and tent sites.

Artificial light might be a problem in the state park and is a problem at the resort.  When I was there, we found several darker places to observe nearby.  The parking lot of Vic Meyer's golf course is reasonably light-free and would be good for observing.  We found better places by driving towards Camp Delaney and Perch Lake.  There are a number of turnoffs and large clearings on the side of the road that are useable.  (Note: There is a gate on this road, but  it wasn't closed at any time that I was there.)  I observed from one of these places and was very happy with it.  Not a single car went by while I observed.  (Perch Lake is a day-use site, so I wouldn't expect any traffic.)  From looking at the area with Google Earth, it looks like there are a number of other parking lots in the area that would be light-free.

Sky conditions were quite good here.  There is one light-dome to the northeast, but it wasn't a probleml.  Overall, I had great views.  The dust lane in M31 was quite distinct in my 8", the Helix Nebula was visible in my 50mm finder, and M74 and M77 were not difficult to find.

Site Amenities - The resorts have full bathrooms with showers, running water, electric hookups, etc.  Cell phone reception is possible, but spotty.


Photos:


Light Pollution Map:

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Last Updated: 2/3/08