West Virginia Is Home To One Of The Biggest International Dark Sky Parks In The World
“Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high like a diamond in the sky…” So goes a popular children’s lullaby, familiar the world over. But how long has it been since you’ve paused to consider the stars? Can you even see the diamonds twinkling in the sky from the areas you frequent? You sure can if you head to Watoga State Park in West Virginia, one of the biggest and best dark sky parks in West Virginia – and in the world!
In the fall of 2021, Watoga State Park, Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park, and Cal Price State Forest received joint designation as an International Dark Sky Place.
Encompassing 19,869 acres of public land in Pocahontas County, these state-managed areas comprise not only the first International Dark Sky Park in West Virginia, but one of the largest, darkest skysheds east of the Mississippi River.
As such, Watoga State Park is proud to offer night-sky themed educational opportunities, including star gazing, seminars on nocturnal animals, opportunities to observe synchronous fireflies (one of only four places in the whole country these fireflies can be officially observed by the public!), and more.
Part of the strict requirements for qualifying for a dark sky designation is lighting: all the light fixtures at Watoga and Droop Mountain are designed to minimize light pollution and maximize night sky viewing.
Book a cabin or campsite at Watoga and head out after dark for a stroll through the park or a climb up Droop Mountain Tower to get an eyeful of some of the best night sky views in the nation.
See the stars. See some planets. See the man in the moon.
See a side of Wild, Wonderful West Virginia (and the wild, wonderful world) that fewer and fewer folks in these modern times ever get to see. You won't regret it.
Learn more from the
International Dark Sky Association or West Virginia State Parks. What a privilege it is to live in a state rumored to be one of the best under the radar star gazing spots in America!
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Watoga State Park, 4800 Watoga Park Rd, Marlinton, WV 24954, USA