Camping at CHERRY SPRINGS STATE PARK
Cherry Springs State Park is an 82-acre Pennsylvania state park in Potter County, famous for its dark skies, which are optimal for stargazing. It's one of the darkest spots on the eastern seaboard and a Gold Level International Dark Sky Park, making it a prime destination for astronomers and night sky enthusiasts.
Cherry Springs is located at 4639 Cherry Springs Road, Coudersport, PA 16915. It is about 15 miles from Galeton and 30 miles from Coudersport, close to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.
Stargazing and Activities
Stargazing: The park's primary draw is the observation field, which provides a 360-degree view of the night sky. There are stargazing events throughout the warmer months, hosted by park staff and astronomy clubs.
Other activities: During the day, visitors can enjoy picnicking, wildlife observation, and hiking on nearby trails in the surrounding Susquehannock State Forest.
Astronomy Field: For serious stargazers, the Astronomy Field offers a camping area that's equipped with pads for telescopes. Reservations are required and can be made online or by calling the state park reservation system.
Rustic Campsites: For a more traditional camping experience, you can use the rustic sites which are available on a first-come, first-served basis or can be reserved.
Amenities: Facilities are minimal but include restrooms and seasonal water stations.
Rules and Regulations
- Light pollution: To preserve the dark skies, strict light policies are enforced. All lights must be red and kept to a minimum.
- Reservations: Campsites and spaces on the Astronomy Field often require reservations, especially during peak observing times.
- Behavior: Quiet behavior is expected to maintain a peaceful atmosphere for wildlife and fellow stargazers.
Tips for Visiting
- Best Time: The best night sky viewing is typically on clear, moonless nights. Check the lunar calendar when planning your visit.
- Weather: The weather can change quickly, so come prepared with layered clothing.
- Equipment: Bring your telescope or binoculars for stargazing, and remember that all lighting should be red.
- Plan Ahead: During peak seasons and meteor showers, the park can be quite busy; reservations are highly recommended.
- Remote Location: Cellular service can be spotty, so download or print out maps and information beforehand.
For more details or to make a reservation, contact the park office or visit the Pennsylvania State Parks' official website. The park office phone number is (814) 435-5010, and additional information is available on the Cherry Springs State Park page of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website.