Stargazing at Cherry Springs State Park

Milky Way at Cherry Springs State Park

Believe it or not, but only 10 percent of Americans have seen a true dark sky. It’s somewhat unfortunate, but most of us live in or around large cities and it’s almost impossible to see any glimpse of stars in the night sky. The city lights and the pollution have taken over the views of stars in the night sky. But not in Cherry Springs State Park! Because of it’s isolated location in the mountains, Coudersport, PA still stands as one of few last strongholds on the East of United States.

When to Visit

  • Fall & Winterare the best times to visit. It may be chillier then, but the lessened humidity and extended night-time hours create excellent stargazing opportunities. The stargazing field at Cherry Springs is open year-round (as their “Astro Cabins” which have their own private stargazing fields, if you can book one).
  • Clear Sky ChartCheck out the Cherry Springs Clear Sky Chart for up-to-date look at how the skies are shaping up for your visit. Look for dark blue squares in the row marked “Cloud Cover” — dark blue means clear skies for optimal viewing conditions.
  • What to BringWarm Clothing with different layers, chair or a blanket, flashlight with red filter and binoculars.

Important Information:

We left Philadelphia right after work around 6-6:30PM and drove NW for about 4 1/2hrs. By the time we arrived it was already near midnight. Because everyone were watching or shooting the night time photography, we didn’t want to spoil the experience and look for our campsite with our bright headlights. We left the car at the main parking lot, took out our sleeping bags and cowboy camped in the middle of the Night Sky Public Viewing Area. We didn’t stay out for to long as we were tired from a long work week.

The next morning we drove to a small town of Coudersport, located only 20 minutes NW from the park. Lucky for us, they were hosting their annual Potter/Tioga Maple Festival. For a lot of locals it’s a great opportunity to showcase their products or just hang out with an old friends. You can sample and buy locally made maple sweets and treats ranging from maple mustards, salad dressings, sundaes, maple candy and even maple cotton candy. Sugar shacking demonstrations, the Maple Festival parade and the crowning of the Maple Sweethearts will highlight your weekend. If you’re looking for more things to do around town, check out this web page.

After spending couple hours in town, we drove around the park and visited some of the local scenic spots. We did some hiking around Lyman Run State Park and then returned back to our campsite to enjoy our fire and get ready for another night of dark sky viewing. There is quite a lot of hiking opportunity in the area ranging from 1-2 hours to 2 full hiking trips. All of the information can be found here: LINK