The December Geminid Meteor Shower is one of the most reliable and prolific meteor showers to catch any time of the year. You can usually see quite a bit of the shower from nearly anywhere, however, if you’ve never taken the time to find a spot outside the city to check out this spectacular sight, then you’re missing out. The Geminid Meteor Shower should peak around the night of Dec. 13, or early in the morning on Dec.14, around 2:00 a.m., so you’ll want to plan a location to view that is open to the public at night and that will get you a great view of the night sky. There are quite a few places to check out sights like this, so consider any of these five locations as you plan out where to watch this amazing meteor shower this year.
1500 Manford Ave
Estes Park, CO 80517
A public observatory is always a great place to catch a meteor shower, and this one is even more special, thanks to its location above Denver in Estes Park. You can take a look at the night sky through a Mead 12 inch LX200 Schmidt-Cassergrain telescope with a pre-arranged private session, or check out the online calendar for public viewing hours. With the big meteor shower coming up, this observatory will have some public hours ready, as many people will be racing out of Denver to locations like this for the perfect nighttime views.
County Road 38E and Taft Hill Road
Fort Collins, CO 80525
If you’re willing to make the drive, you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic view of the night sky with almost no light pollution at all to deal with. Horsetooth Reservoir is about an hour and a half from Denver, so you may want to arrange to camp there overnight, that way you won’t have to drive back in the middle of the night. Take a drive along County Road 38E and you’ll find lots of spots to pull over for some amazing skywatching. If you enjoy night hiking, you can even head to the top of Horsetooth Rock for the best views around.
Grand Lake, CO 80447
The town of Grand Lake may be a little longer of a drive, but you’ll fall in love with this beautiful town, gorgeous lake and plentiful night-watching options. Grab a sleeping bag and a tent and camp overnight at the Green Ridge Campground, where you’ll have virtually no light pollution to block your view of the shower. There are more than 350 different campsites in four different campgrounds in the Grand Lake Area in the Arapaho National Recreation Area, so if you find one is full, you’ll probably be able to find another camping spot nearby. If you can, try to get a view near the lake, where you’ll have some truly stunning panoramic night views.
1000 Highway 36
Estes Park, CO 80517
It’s one of the biggest national parks this side of the Mississippi, so it’s sure to provide ample locations to check out the meteor shower. Make a weekend out of it — secure a camping space and enjoy a full night of gazing at the incredibly expansive sky, as seen from Colorado’s beautiful wilderness. Check with the Ranger stations and you may even luck into some night sky tours, which would be the perfect way to learn a little bit about what you’re watching, as you enjoy the scene above you. The light pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park is also pretty minimal, so you’ll have lots of great views of every corner of the sky.
2930 E. Warren Ave
Denver, CO 80210
Since 1894, the Chamberlin Observatory has been one of the best places for stargazing in Colorado. There are always lots of public hours and the Observatory holds a regular open house, welcoming all who would like to take advantage of its 26-foot telescope. Since this observatory is operated by the University of Denver, you’ll probably also have someone on-hand to teach you a little bit about the meteor shower as you watch it, making the Chamberlin Observatory the perfect location to enjoy this rare treat. Be sure to check the calendar of the Observatory before you head down, as you may need to make reservations, as it could be a busy night.