DENVER, Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With fall in full swing in Colorado, it's the perfect time for stargazing. The Colorado Tourism Office highlights eight of the best spots for stargazing in the state. For a free copy of the 2012 Official State Visitors Guide, visit www.colorado.com.
- Chimney Rock National Monument (www.chimneyrockco.org) is the country's newest National Monument and one of the best stargazing destinations in the west, with 5,000+ acres of high desert terrain. The U.S. Forest Service offers complimentary Night-Sky Archaeo-Astronomy Programs.
- Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater (www.redrocksonline.com) is used to seeing stars: U2, Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay are a few of the acts who have performed at this spectacular natural, open-air amphitheater. The wide, terraced stairs of the amphitheater makes it an ideal location to spend an evening stargazing.
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (www.nps.gov/blca) in southwest Colorado offers numerous opportunities to turn one's eyes heavenward and channel one's inner Galileo. Ranger-guided stargazing programs are offered throughout the year.
- The UFO Watchtower (www.ufowatchtower.com) in Alamosa boasts miniscule light pollution and is an ideal stargazing site. Local legend has it that the San Luis Valley is an extraterrestrial hotbed, with dozens of UFO sightings rumored to have occurred in the area.
- The OPUS Hut (www.opushut.com), surrounded by 13,000-foot mountain peaks, is an incredible backcountry respite. At an altitude of 11,800 feet, visitors feel as though they can reach out and touch the stars. Rates, which include dinner and breakfast, are $70/night.
- Rocky Mountain National Park (www.nps.gov/romo) and Estes Park offer several unbeatable stargazing areas. The Rocky Mountain Nature Association (www.rmna.org) offers Trek Adventures at Dusk, a custom educational experience specifically for children and led by a local naturalist, is available via a snowshoe or bus tour.
- Horsetooth Reservoir (www.horsetoothreservoir.com) near Fort Collins, so-called because of a bizarre rock formation that resembles a horse's tooth, offers an uninterrupted view of sparkling night skies. A short hike to Horsetooth Rock boasts a view of Fort Collins on one side and rugged mountains framed by Horsetooth Reservoir and the night sky on the other.
- Gunnison Valley Observatory (www.gunnisonobservatory.org) is the largest public telescope in Colorado. At an elevation of 7,703 feet and with virtually non-existent air and light pollution, Gunnison boasts near-perfect stargazing conditions.
Roland Alonzi / 646-442-6765, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Colorado Tourism Office