The Milky Way seen from Canyonlands National Park in Utah
© Cavan Images/Offse
Astrotourism at its finest. Astrotourism at its finest
Stay in Canyonlands National Park until after sundown so you can appreciate one of the park's most distinct features—a night sky so free of artificial light that it’s been designated a Gold-Tier International Dark Sky park. Here’s another way of understanding what that means: When you’re in the city you may see up to 500 stars in a moonless night sky, but here in Utah's Canyonlands, you can see more than 15,000. Many of the stars (and planets) sparkle in the Milky Way, our galactic home in the universe. It’s a big reason why astrotourists and photographers visit at night, to see the light show above. But for those who follow the sun, daytime is perfect for hiking and camping, wildlife viewing, and discovering rock art left behind by prehistoric peoples.Today we’re celebrating 55 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation to make Canyonlands a national park—the largest park in all of Utah. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but as a native-born son of the Lone Star State of Texas, perhaps President Johnson had an affinity for a place big enough to see the sprawling night sky.