Dark Sky Stargazing Trips & Vacations

Stargazing Vacation Trips

When was the last time you looked up and considered your place in the universe?

In recent years, an increasing number of the guests on our trips look up at the Milky Way on moonless nights and candidly admit that they’ve never seen anything so beautiful in their lives. This has not always been the norm for humanity; only in recent centuries have we cast our eyes elsewhere and forgotten the stars. Much of the Earth is losing its dark skies to light pollution; most Americans will live their whole lives without seeing the Milky Way, but out here on the Colorado Plateau, the night sky is alive and well, and waiting for you to rediscover it.

At Holiday we are fortunate to live, work, and play under one of the few remaining pockets of truly dark sky, and we’re eager to share it with you. We’ve teamed up with the experts from Salt Lake City’s Clark Planetarium to provide stargazing vacation trips like no others. The trails we bike and the rivers we run traverse some of the darkest, most remote corners of Utah and Colorado, including two International Dark Sky Parks, Canyonlands National Park and Dinosaur National Monument. Float or cycle through red rock wonderlands during the day; at night, settle in on a sandy beach and stare up at the starry ribbon of sky. Learn from our expert guides and special star guests, and discover the powerful sense of awe that the night sky can impart.


4 Day Maze Bike & Stargazing Trip

May 4–7, 2021 (4 days): The Maze stargazing bike trip takes you on a ride through the least-visited region of Canyonlands National Park, and on a larger journey into the Milky Way and beyond. Canyonlands is recognized as an International Dark Sky Park for the exceptional quality of its night skies, and the Maze in particular has unparalleled open vistas, making it an ideal place from which to contemplate the cosmos. On this four-day, supported bike ride, marvel at the works of wind and water while riding through the sculpted rocks of the Maze, then let your mind be blown again as you gaze up each night.

5 Day Yampa River Stargazing Trip

June 9–13, 2021 (5 days): For the first time ever, we are excited to pair our stargazing trip series with the wild Yampa River. Unregulated by dams, the Yampa’s natural flood cycle carries us through the rich biodiversity of Dinosaur National Monument, an International Dark Sky Park. Five days in the Yampa’s sinuous, curving canyon walls allow us to let go of the busy modern world. This is the place to reconnect with what is possibly the most human experience of all, looking up at a truly dark sky and wondering at the impossibly detailed glow of starlight and cosmos. With our astronomy expert along for the ride, you’re sure to take away not only photos, but a newly awakened sense of awe. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

4 Day Lodore Canyon Stargazing Trip

July 6–9, 2021 (4 days): Lodore Canyon lies deep inside Dinosaur National Monument, an International Dark Sky Park. During the day, splash through rapids such as Triplet Falls and Hells Half Mile; at night we’ll lie on white, sandy beaches and turn our eyes upwards to ponder the Milky Way. Learn about constellations, the movement of our planet, and use binoculars to find the Andromeda Galaxy. The leisurely pacing of this four-day trip makes it easy to stay up after dark and still enjoy the daylight.

6 Day Desolation Canyon Stargazing Trip

August 9–14, 2021 (6 days): The Green River through Desolation Canyon offers exceptionally dark nights and fun-filled days. During the daylight hours, explore side canyons, hike to rock art and old homesteads, and ride the waves of Desolation’s consistent-but-mellow whitewater. In the evenings, let your mind reach into the universe around us. Explore the Milky Way, gaze at the Andromeda Galaxy, watch satellites and meteors, and learn constellations.

5 Day Labyrinth Canyon Hiking & Stargazing Trip

September 2–6, 2021 (5 days): Labyrinth Canyon twists and turns and guides the Green River on a beautiful and tranquil course towards Canyonlands National Park. This calm stretch of river whispers beneath smooth, towering, red walls, without a single rapid to impede its meditative flow. Labyrinth is the place to truly relax and release the anxiety and stress of the modern world. With oak groves, beaches, and a variety of side hikes, Labyrinth offers the opportunity for internal reflection and pristine dark skies for star-gazers. If five days isn’t enough time, consider extending your trip to include Stillwater and Cataract canyons on our Cataract stargazing trip, September 6–13.

8 Day Cataract Canyon SUP, Yoga, & Stargazing Trip

September 6–13, 2021 (8 days): Practice makes perfect, and there’s nothing quite as perfect as practicing your best yogi balances on a stand-up paddle board while floating through the red walls of Cataract Canyon. This specialty Cataract trip combines our stargazing series with our Balance and Flow offerings. Stretch your body during the day with yoga instructor Jennifer Gilmore, and stretch your mind at night with Tom Beckett, our stargazing interpreter and Clark Planetarium board member. Calm water, rapids, hiking, and beaches, Cataract in September does not disappoint. (For those looking for an even longer experience, consider combining this trip with our Labyrinth Canyon stargazing trip (September 2–6), which connects with this one.)

12 Day Labyrinth and Cataract Canyon Hiker Special

September 2–13, 2021 (12 days): Join us for an extra-special extended Canyonlands trip that combines the quiet grandeur of Labyrinth Canyon on the Green River with the wild, crumbling majesty of Cataract Canyon on the Colorado. Twelve days allows for unparalleled exploration and an incomparable feeling of getting away from it all. Float through towering red mesas, hike to prehistoric structures and up intricate side canyons, visit the Doll House, and then run the legendary rapids of Cataract Canyon. This season, we are excited to offer this unique trip with the added perk of a stargazing focus, complete with our very own astronomy expert from the Clark Planetarium.

4 Day White Rim Bike & Stargazing Trip with Yoga

October 9–12, 2021 (4 days): Travel along the iconic sandstone bench around the “Island in the Sky”. See Musselman Arch, Monument Basin, Turks Head, Candlestick Tower, and White Crack, a perch 1,000 feet above the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers in the center of Canyonlands…what some call the center of the universe. And what better way to balance a day’s trail ride than with some yoga? Warm up your body in the morning or relax into your evening with optional yoga sessions with our fantastic instructor, Jennifer Gilmore. This fall, as a bonus, we’ve planned this unique trip to align with a new moon, leaving the night sky a blissful, dark, and detailed canopy of stars and planets.