Trek to the Stars: The Best Celestial Camping in Washington
Is there anything better than falling asleep under the night sky while camping in Washington state?
Whether it’s a car campground at Steamboat Rock State Park, a stroll through the Mary E. Theler Wetlands or a deep hike into the backcountry of the North Cascades, there’s no shortage of hiking and camping in Washington under the stars. Pack your pillow and coffee brewing supplies, and load up your phone with an app like Star Walk and head out to any of these choice destinations for incredible stargazing across the Evergreen State.
Distance: 7 miles round-trip
The remote nature of North Cascades National Park makes it a prime option for stargazing far from the light pollution of major metropolitan areas. This hike up to beautiful Cascade Pass is a popular one for good reason — glaciers, mountains and meadows for starters — but it’s also a choice spot to take in the night sky while camping in Washington’s backcountry.
Accessible trails wind through this quiet little pocket of wetlands and woods on the Kitsap Peninsula, making it a pleasant option for an evening starry stroll. There’s not much light around here, so the more than two miles of trails within the 139 acres of protected salt marsh and estuary wetlands are a great way to see the stars above.
The desert is great for clear nighttime skies, and those above Steamboat Rock State Park don’t disappoint. Located on the shores of Banks Lake, Steamboat Rock is an ideal destination for a long weekend of camping in Washington to explore and observe celestial beauty from any of the park’s three camping areas.
Distance: 6.2 miles roundtrip or about 3 miles to beach campsites
It can be hard to count on clear skies on the Olympic Peninsula, but when the clouds part, the stars out here are immaculate. The easy walk along a boardwalk trail takes you through dark forests to the wild and rugged coastline, which will add the sounds of crashing surf and screeching seagulls to your celestial adventure.
Seattle has an astronomical society? Indeed it does. And while you won’t go camping, you can enjoy the stars every month as it hosts star parties at Green Lake and Paramount Park that are free and open to the public. Members of the Seattle Astronomical Society bring their telescopes and share their knowledge of constellations and deep space objects with anyone who wants to partake.