1 Night of Heavenly Sights
So, unlike the majority of the United States, Ridgway has amazing scenery up above. There’s nothing quite like seeing the Milky Way rise high over the San Juan Mountain peaks.
Incredible views of the planets, stars, constellations, and Milky Way are available year round, especially on moonless nights, but consider scheduling your night sky viewing during a meteor shower for bigger impact. Whether you are a morning person or a night owl, you can enjoy the skies in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning. Just be sure to plan a time at least an hour or two after sunset or before sunrise to get some good viewing in.
Top of the Pines, a recreation area on a mountaintop above Ridgway, was designated an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association in 2021. The park hosts a summer astronomy week in August. Another good time to visit for sky viewing is during the annual Astro Fest at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, typically scheduled in September.
Special thanks to Val Szwarc for helping provide information for this page.
Astrophotography provided by Val Szwarc, Gary Ratcliff (Ouray Image), and Cutler Connaughton.
Since you’ll be spending the dark hours outdoors, why not spend part of your day indoors. Visit the Ouray County Ranch History Museum to learn about our area’s history, and enjoy some shopping in downtown Ridgway. Make time in your wanderings to visit Cafe Ridgway a la Mode to get a delicious ice cream, sundae, shake, or float.
El Agave Azul
In Town: Local astronomers recommend the athletic fields at Frontier Park just south of Chipeta Drive on County Road 23. The grassy, multipurpose sports fields provide a dark corner in our community with wide open views, plus it’s a great place to gather when you want a few friends to join you for stargazing.
In the Mountains: Top of the Pines (TOP) Recreation Area, up County Road 5, is an outstanding place for sky viewing.
In fact, the high-alpine outdoor adventure area has been nominated as an International Dark Sky Park, and hopes to earn designation in late 2021.
The Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce promotes business and community development in the Town of Ridgway and the surrounding area. The Ridgway Visitor Center, located at 150 Racecourse Road, Ridgway, Colorado 81432 (across from Citizens Bank off of HWY 62), The visitor center is closed as of October 1st and will reopen Memorial Day weekend.
P.O. Box 544
Ridgway, Colorado 81432