The Cosmic Pleasures of a Dark Sky Fest

Spend the first weekend of August staring up, by night, at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

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GAZING ABOVE THE HORIZON LINE? We have a lot of reasons to do just that. It might be that we see an extraordinary bird in flight, or a perfectly puffy cloud, or something else in the sky that catches our attention. But if you were to say to someone that they'd spend a lot of time looking up inside a national park with "volcanic" in its name, that person's first hunch might be that they'll be staring at a cone in the distance, one burbling with lava. That won't be the case over the first weekend of August at Lassen Volcanic National Park, which definitely still possesses earth-sizzly features but no recent eruptions (it has been over a century since that happened at Lassen Peak). But there will be faces turned to the sky on Aug. 2 and 3, especially after the sun goes down, for that's when the beautiful and much-beloved...

DARK SKY FESTIVAL... returns to the national park. Who'll show, beyond those who love a velvety expanse of cosmic scenery as enjoyed from a very low-lit location? Astronomers will make the journey, oh yeah, and astrobiologists, too, meaning there'll be plenty to learn about as you look up in love and wonder. Activities include "(n)ightly constellation tours and stargazing" as well as "solar scope viewing, Junior Ranger Astronomy, and hands-on activities." The full schedule will be out in late June 2019, but count on staying busy by night, and day, too, if plan on getting some hiking and sunlit sightseeing in during your adventure. On thing to note? Figuring out your stay well in advance is a great idea, whether that's camping or bedding down somewhere like the classic, awesomely unplug-worthy Drakesbad Guest Ranch.

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