5 Tips for Dark Sky Viewing in Tennessee

Tennessee State Parks offer some of the best places in the country for dark sky viewing!

If you're not sure where to go, check out Pickett CCC Memorial State Park. Pickett State Park is one of the top stargazing destinations in the southeast and is listed by the International Dark-Sky Association as a certified dark sky viewing location. Pickett State Park, along with nearby Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area, is also a Silver-tier International Dark Sky Park.

When you're ready to escape the city lights and experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the night sky, we have a few tips to ensure your dark sky viewing is out of this world!

Stargazing in open field


Look for a viewing site with clear horizons that offer wide expansive views, such as the astronomy field located at Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area. This field is just a short drive from the Pickett State Visitor Center, has electricity available, and is open to the public year-round for dark sky viewing.

clear skies weather forecast


Be sure to check the forecast before planning your night sky adventure! You will need a clear dark sky so plan your trip on a moonless/cloudless night. 

dog sitting in the back of a vehicle


Spend less time driving and more time soaking up the wonders of the night sky by staying close to your observation area. Booking multiple nights is also a good idea. In the event of bad weather, you're still able to give yourself plenty of nights for amazing dark sky viewing!

Stay at Laurel Fork Rustic Retreat!

You'll find multiple cabin rental options near Pickett State Park. Within minutes, you can be back at your cabin and soaking in a hot tub or sipping on your favorite glass of wine! Take advantage of many daytime activities too, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and more!

Check Availability and book your stay today!

lawn chairs at sunset


Since you'll likely be outside for several hours at a time, it's best to be comfortable. Bring comfortable chairs, appropriate clothing, and don't forget bug spray! Prepare for changing temperatures and weather patterns. You also don't want to let your hunger or thirst get in the way of your dark sky viewing experience, so bring plenty of water, drinks, food, and snacks.

person looking at the sky through telescope


It can take up to an hour for your eyes to adjust to the dark sky, so bring a red low light flashlight to keep light to a minimum. While you do not need any special equipment to view the night sky you may want to bring binoculars, telescopes, and sky charts to help add to the fun.

Remember these tips when planning your dark sky viewing adventure at your favorite Tennessee State Park and have fun exploring the wonders of space!