(credit: Daniel McVey) (credit: Daniel McVey)
As the Mile High City, Denver is already a lot closer to the stars than many other big cities in the country. However, Denver also has a great deal of light pollution, so if you want to do some stargazing, it can be a little tough to find the perfect location. However, there are several fantastic stargazing opportunities that you can enjoy, most without having to drive too far from home. Once you get a little bit outside the city, you’ll be able to truly enjoy the stunning night sky in a way that you may never have seen it before. Bring along a telescope, some binoculars and a blanket (even in the summer, it gets chilly at night) then grab your special someone for a romantic night gazing at the beautiful night sky.
Aspen Meadows
Golden Gate Canyon
92 Crawford Gulch Road
Golden, CO 80403
(303) 297-1192

Just 30 miles outside of Denver is Golden Gate Canyon, where the Aspen Meadows Campground is located. Near the campground, you’ll find a large meadow perfect for a relaxing evening of star gazing with wide expanses of the night sky unpolluted by Denver’s city lights. Visitors will have to pay the parking fee, but it’s well worth it for the gorgeous views and far-from-it-all feeling. For those wanting to really get away, stay for a couple of nights and enjoy the rock climbing, horseback riding and hiking offered in Golden Gate Canyon. 

Related: Top Colorado State Parks Near Denver

Off of Highway 85
Sedalia, CO 80135

Less than 45 minutes from Denver is the small town of Sedalia. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it mountain town is a refreshing way to step outside of the city’s hustle and bustle without going too far from home. But, it’s just far enough away to escape the big city lights obscuring a chance to get a really good look at the night sky. Go up and have a nice dinner, then lay out under the stars off of Highway 85. Just double check that you aren’t trespassing wherever you pitch up. 

Chamberlin Observatory
2930 W. Warren Ave.
Denver, CO 80210
(303) 871-5172

Price: $4 for adults/$3 for children

If an observatory is more like what you’ve been searching for, then the University of Denver’s Chamberlin Observatory is the place to visit. It hosts a public night, which begins with a presentation by the Denver Astronomical Society, followed by telescopic views of the stars, star clusters, planets, moon and so much more, all using the observatory’s 28-foot-long, 20-inch aperture refracting telescope. The public nights are held every Tuesday and Thursday, and have been a Denver tradition since 1894, when the Observatory first began opening its doors to the public. For those interested in astronomy, these weekly shows are the perfect way to get lots of information on celestial objects and the universe. Keep in mind that the observatory is also on the National Register of Historic Places, so it’s also a truly historic location within Denver to visit.

The UFO Watchtower
201-249 Colorado 17
Center, CO 81125
(719) 378-2296

Price: $2 per person/$5 per car/$10 camping fee

This one is a bit of a drive, but any stargazing enthusiast is going to want to make this trip. The UFO Watchtower is located far enough from the big city that there is virtually no light pollution at all to deal with, providing some of the most glorious and clear views imaginable. For those that follow the UFO rumors in the area, this is supposedly a hotbed for extraterrestrial activity, however those that just want a great place to check out incredible views of the night sky, this is also an amazing spot to visit. You can even bring along your tent and sleeping bags for an inexpensive night under the stars. It’s a bit tough to find, but just head north on Highway 17 until you start seeing the “Alien” signs. Bring along a camera, because this is one place you will find lots of fun photo opportunities as well.

Related: Top National Parks & Monuments In Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 Highway 36
Estes Park, CO 80517
(970) 586-1206

Price: $20 per automobile

Perhaps the biggest and most popular spot to go look at the night time sky, Rocky Mountain National Park should definitely be at the top of your list. It’s 415 square miles of amazing natural mountain environments, with tons of places to camp, hike, fish, or just drive up for a night of viewing. You’ll be high above the Denver light pollution, and the night sky here is truly astounding. Take a drive up Trail Ridge Road, which reaches 12,183 feet above sea level at its highest elevation, to really get a look at the incredibly expansive views from this stunning park. Or just break out the tent, some sleeping bags and enjoy a night under the stars with someone very special. You can even take advantage of the Night Sky Programs offered by the park rangers during the summer, where you can learn all about the different constellations and other amazing views from the experts that know these views the best.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.