Anza-Borrego’s All-Access Trails, California
Located in southern California’s Colorado Desert, the state park of Anza-Borrego has two all-access trails that welcome night hikers. The first one is a 1.4-mile roundtrip route ending at a campground, while the other one is a 0.25-mile loop trail from the Visitor Center. An evening trek along these trails affords hikers the chance to get away from the desert heat while still learning about the park’s ecosystem. There are interpretive signs along the pathways, and, if lucky, tourists might spot rabbits, quails, and scorpions (blacklight is recommended).
Mackinac Island, Michigan
The pristine Lake Huron of Michigan is home to Mackinac Island, a thriving community where recreational activities overflow. This picturesque destination is known for M-185, a tourist highway where cars are not allowed – only hikers, bikers, and such. With such a classification, the highway is perfect for an evening hike, where trekkers can trace the shoreline to Fort Holmes. The climb might be steep, but it’s a rewarding experience when trekkers are atop, enjoying the evening breeze and the starry, starry night.
Cadillac Mountain, Maine
Light pollution is not much of a problem in Maine, so stargazers are always in for a treat when visiting it. Those who want a moonlit hike can explore the lush Acadia National Park, with its pristine coast, taking them to Cadillac Mountain. There are two (roundtrip) trails available for nighttime explorers: the 4.4-mile North Ridge and the 7.1-mile South Ridge. The latter features stunning views of the ocean and islands, while the former boasts of the sweeping scenery of the bay and the peninsula.
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Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania
Cherry Springs State Park is famous among stargazers because of its dark skies, and as such, it’s perfect for a night hike. Located in the lush Susquehannock State Forest, this Pennsylvania wonder has dedicated stargazing spots, so tourists just need where to place their mats, camera tripods, or telescopes. Before doing so, they must first enjoy the thrill of a moonlit stroll along the trails that will lead them to the best seat in town for a cosmic show. The Milky Way galaxy awaits its guests.
Kwaaymii Point, California
Kwaaymii Point is another destination in the expansive Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The 1.4-mile roundtrip route is part of the Pacific Crest Trail, popular among landscape photographers because the area transitions from desert to mountain (thanks to the presence of the Cleveland National Forest). Night hiking in this superb attraction is perfect for those who want to take in the landscape during the day and camp when dusk hits, with the stars lulling them for a good night’s sleep.
Phoenix says yes, from morning until night. This Arizona charmer offers many tourist experiences, and when travelers can’t get enough of this metropolis, they should explore it in the evening. Night owls can visit Piestewa Peak and South Mountain for a sojourn with the moon on their own or with friends, while Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area and Usery Mountain Regional Park offer guided tours.
Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, California
The city of Poway is the proud home of Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, where communing with Mother Nature is always within grasp. This attraction has a two-mile roundtrip trail that lets trekkers find their center from sunup to sundown. Its riparian corridor is teeming with wildlife, perfect for zoology lovers who want to wait for the arrival of the nocturnals, like frogs. The canyon is also blooming with many plant species, an enticing prospect for botany buffs.
Shining Rock Wilderness, North Carolina
North Carolina is the lucky home of many majestic mountain ranges like the Appalachians, Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Great Smokies. With such wonders, the state is effectively an adventurer’s playground. Shining Rock Wilderness in the Appalachians offers just that, taking hikers to a rock ledge where stargazing and watching meteor showers are favorite pastimes. The trail to the top spans 6.5 miles, enough for those still wanting to break a sweat.
San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, California
San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve is popular among birdwatchers, and this California destination always welcomes them, even at night. Botany lovers are also encouraged to explore its short trail, where an abundance of plant species awaits them. Add the salt marsh of the park, and anyone visiting it can immediately feel it’s not just an attraction but a refuge – for critters and weary travelers. The night is always nice in San Elijo Lagoon.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
Texas is proud of Big Bend National Park because its darkness is as colorful as its daytime. It’s the country’s national park with the least light pollution, something to entice stargazers and “moonwalkers.” With such a claim to fame, those who want to experience its vibe in the evening can rest easy knowing night sky rangers got them covered. From camping to playing with fireflies, Big Bend is big on nocturnal wonders.