Website of the week: Dark Site Finder

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Part of the the Front Range of Colorado

A possible indication that someone may be off the beaten path is the lack of light pollution.

A lack of large or even small metro areas nearby means a pristine night sky and, quite possibly, not many people.

How to find these off the beaten path places? I’ve discussed this before. It is simple, really.

With so many resources available with a few keystrokes, finding new places to see and explore is easier than even ten years ago.

But once the place is found, just how isolated will it be?

Obviously even “remote” places such as Yellowstone National Park will always be busy.

But there are plenty of obscure places that offer solitude and the pleasure of a night sky that is striking.

And how to find these gems? Simply point your browser to Dark Site Finder. 

Simple, easy to use, color coded for extreme to no light pollution and intuitive in operation.

Dark Site Finder is, at its core, a Google Map with some slickly programmed overlays.

Dark Site Finder helps explain why I’ve enjoyed some unexpected gems so much in recent months. And partially tells the tale of why  the “backyard mountains” of Colorado’s Front Range are so busy.

Are low numbers of people and a dark night sky the only reason to go to a place?

Not necessarily.

But it sure helps.

And Dark Site Finder is a wonderful tool to get this info.


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8 years ago

Very interesting! When people talk about drilling in ANWR I like to show them a light map. Check out Alaska. The brightest spot? Prudhoe Bay. One of the darkest? ANWR. There’s not only the footprint of physical ground, but a sound footprint and a light footprint and activity footprint and a vista footprint.

8 years ago

Awesome link… thanks for sharing Paul.

So this means if you want the darkest sky thru-hike in the lower 48 you should hike the Oregon Desert Trail! It appears to stay mostly within the largest area of darkest skies in the continental US. Cool!

8 years ago

It’s so cool to see my little get away in the Adirondacks as one of the darkest spots on the east coast!