This Is Why You Need to Visit the Dark Sky Reserve in Idaho

Central Idaho is an area unlike any other. Every path you embark on will lead you to areas that seem so untouched by humans that you wonder if you are the first to ever encounter them. With rushing rivers and towering mountaintops, the landscape becomes more impressive everywhere you look. We even have the Dark Sky Reserve in Idaho, where you can see the stars like never before! It’s a true experience off the grid that is an incredible way to spend one of your nights here. 

For more ways to make the most of your time in the Sawtooths, be sure to request access to our complimentary Vacation Guide. It’s full of the best things to do and places to see in our area! 

What Is the Dark Sky Reserve in Idaho?

The International Dark-Sky Association set aside 1,416-square miles of land to create Idaho’s Dark Sky Reserve in December of 2017. This is the first-ever Gold Tier dark sky preserve in the United States, and there are only 11 others in the entire world! The purpose of this project is to protect the beautiful landscapes and night sky in the area for science, education, culture, and public enjoyment. 

Visiting the Dark Sky Reserve in Idaho

The Dark Sky Reserve spans over three communities in Central Idaho: Sun Valley, Ketchum, and Stanley. That means that in these places and the wilderness of the Sawtooth Mountains, light pollution is almost completely nonexistent. When you look up into the night sky at these spots, you will see more stars than you have in your life. The town of Ketchum first began this process at the beginning of 2017. 

When you look up after the sun goes down in these areas, you will be in absolute awe. Whether you have a telescope, binoculars, or are just stargazing with your eyes, you can see more than ever before. View stunning sights like the shining Milky Way, racing meteors, and planets. Come experience the wonder for yourself! Many enjoy coming during the new moon when no light reflects off the moon. Check out the phases of the moon to start planning your trip! 

Light Pollution

Did you know that our artificial lighting blocks 99% of all Americans from experiencing the night completely naturally? Not only can most people not see the true beauty of the stars, but this light pollution also wastes an incredible amount of energy. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that we waste about 35% of light produced and costs about $3.3 billion and 21 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. By only using light when needed or installing lights to point directly downward, you can do your part in decreasing light pollution. 


There are many events at the Idaho Dark Sky Reserve throughout the summer. You can attend a viewing party to get up close and personal with the stars and gaze through the park’s telescope. These are great opportunities to learn a little about the night during your stay at Redfish Lake Lodge! 

Book Your Getaway Today


Redfish Lake Lodge offers visitors the ultimate getaway to the Sawtooth Mountains. Our beautiful lakeside resort features a one-of-a-kind collection of accommodationsactivities, and on-site dining that combines modern-day comforts in a rustic, family-friendly atmosphere. You can enhance your stay with one of our specials. Be sure to check out our new online store to grab your Redfish gear before your visit!  

What are you waiting for? Book your stay with us and start planning your getaway today! We look forward to welcoming you to the Redfish family.