Tent at Night

Camp Elena is situated within the World's Largest International Dark Sky Reserve, offering a unique opportunity to experience unrivaled stargazing. Take full advantage of stargazing in Big Bend with our comprehensive guide.

What time of year has the best stargazing?

The optimal conditions for stargazing, including for viewing the Milky Way, occur when the moon is below the horizon, typically during the new moon phase. As we are in a Dark Sky Reserve, you can still appreciate the beauty of stargazing during the moon's waxing and waning phases. We recommend visiting during the winter, spring, or fall for stargazing, as summer tends to bring more rain and clouds. Check out the schedule of moon phases in Terlingua, TX here.

In-Tent Experience

Enjoy s'mores by the campfire under the stars, gaze through sliding glass doors at celestial wonders, and explore the night sky with our in-tent telescopes. Each tent is also equipped with a red entry light and red light flashlight to help preserve night vision. Elevate your adventure by renting binoculars as part of our Park Essentials Rental for enhanced views both on and beyond the property.

Be Courteous

Out of consideration for fellow visitors and in reverence for the reserve, we encourage all to turn off lights after use, refrain from activating bright car headlights, and avoid using flash photography during the nighttime hours. Find more information on the effects of light pollution and how you can implement Dark Sky practices at home and in your community here.

Local Programs and Events

Big Bend National Park offers FREE night sky interpretive programs throughout the year, ranging from informative moonlight walks to star parties, led by park rangers or volunteers. 

Big Bend Ranch State Park, similar to the National Park, hosts star parties and telescope viewing events in the park.

McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis has some of the largest telescopes in the world, and offers informative star parties, special viewing events, K-12 programs, live streams, and more (124 mi northwest). 

Marathon Skypark has two large observatory-grade refractor telescopes and offers cosmic adventures regularly (115 mi northeast). 

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