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Old 09-23-2017, 08:28 AM
 
4 posts, read 16,297 times
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I am visiting Colorodo springs interested to see the dark sky / stargazing from Westcliffe - Jack Observatory, Bluff Park.

Can i drive into the Westcliffe town(from colorado springs) around night after 10pm just to see the night sky and drive back after few hours.

Are there any restrictions to driving into the town during night time considering the towns are recognized as Dark Sky communities.

How is the night sky during half-moon days? Any suggestions and tips. Thanks!
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Old 09-23-2017, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
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I'd recommend not driving in rural areas at night. I think the risk of hitting a deer and getting your car damaged is too high. Deer really are stupid animals and they can and will jump in front of your car at night.
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Old 09-23-2017, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
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There are no restrictions with driving at night in Westcliffe that I've ever seen. Restrictions are predominately with buildings and commercial lighting.

Driving in the mountains at night does require some extra attention as Vision points out, and Westcliffe is in a mountain valley.

More info:
http://cliffhangersguide.com/
Dark Skies, Inc. of the Wet Mountain Valley, Westcliffe, Colorado, Homepage
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Old 09-23-2017, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Manitou Springs
1,016 posts, read 1,120,678 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunner14 View Post
I am visiting Colorodo springs interested to see the dark sky / stargazing from Westcliffe - Jack Observatory, Bluff Park.

Can i drive into the Westcliffe town(from colorado springs) around night after 10pm just to see the night sky and drive back after few hours.

Are there any restrictions to driving into the town during night time considering the towns are recognized as Dark Sky communities.

How is the night sky during half-moon days? Any suggestions and tips. Thanks!
You might want to consider staying overnight in Pueblo or Canon City. Both are on the way to Westcliffe (depending on the route you take) and that way you could already be halfway there in the daylight and not have the longer drive home at night over unfamiliar roads.

Just a thought. Not sure where you're coming from but driving at night in Colorado can be a different experience than what you may be used to.

Canon City is the prettier drive; and you might be interested in seeing the Royal Gorge (Top Colorado Springs Attractions | Royal Gorge Bridge & Park) before heading to Westcliffe.
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Old 09-23-2017, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
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Gunner, I agree that driving back from Westcliffe to CS is not a good idea for anyone not familiar with the roads. Even Pueblo is over 50 miles. Why not just spend the night in Westcliffe? It's a cute little town.
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Old 09-23-2017, 07:11 PM
 
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If you have a day or so, I'd stay in Westcliffe and explore that beautiful area a bit. The Sangre de Cristo trails right there are spectacular and the town itself is a quaint place to enjoy for half a day or so. Driving across the Wet Mountains at night would be pretty dangerous.
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Old 09-23-2017, 08:14 PM
 
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Half moon is still pretty bright. The closer to the new moon date, the better the stargazing.

I have never heard of any municipality outlawing night driving. That's just not going to happen in this country.

Recently, I wanted to do some stargazing at a good place only about 11 miles from home. I also didn't want to add to the plethora of deerkill, skunk kill, raccoon kill, muskrat kill, etc that have plastered our roads during the entire summer. I got a nice campsite during the afternoon, enjoyed a wonderful hike, stargazed, and did another fine hike the next morning. All with the benefit of hot showers, bathrooms with flush toilets, and beautiful surroundings.

Highly recommend making your jaunt a micro-vacation!
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Old 09-25-2017, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Manitou Springs
1,016 posts, read 1,120,678 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post
Half moon is still pretty bright. The closer to the new moon date, the better the stargazing.

I have never heard of any municipality outlawing night driving. That's just not going to happen in this country.

Recently, I wanted to do some stargazing at a good place only about 11 miles from home. I also didn't want to add to the plethora of deerkill, skunk kill, raccoon kill, muskrat kill, etc that have plastered our roads during the entire summer. I got a nice campsite during the afternoon, enjoyed a wonderful hike, stargazed, and did another fine hike the next morning. All with the benefit of hot showers, bathrooms with flush toilets, and beautiful surroundings.

Highly recommend making your jaunt a micro-vacation!
I was going to suggest camping, because there's a great campground in Westcliffe with sites that afford great views of the valley (with mysterious lights at night to boot). But I didn't because usually if someone is a camper, they'll mention it in their post.

OP, if you're into camping, you might want to check this out as another option: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/psic...a/?recid=12703
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Old 09-26-2017, 02:34 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,334 posts, read 39,604,894 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunner14 View Post
I am visiting Colorodo springs interested to see the dark sky / stargazing from Westcliffe - Jack Observatory, Bluff Park.

Can i drive into the Westcliffe town(from colorado springs) around night after 10pm just to see the night sky and drive back after few hours....
How is the night sky during half-moon days? Any suggestions and tips. Thanks!
Night driving in CO is delightful (with a few risks).

I did 7 yrs OTR truck driving (100% at night) in WY, CO, SD, NE (in each state daily 3x / week ) Lots of Open Range, no deer strikes (yet)...

LOVE night driving on the Prairie, but Mtns OK too!

DARK nights, tough to see / drive = PNW Rain / overcast (200+ nights / yr) w/ 300' tall trees lining the roadway But... if you get out this way... Goldendale observatory 2 hrs east of RAIN!
http://www.goldendaleobservatory.com/visit.html


NZ beats the 'night light', it was superb star gazing and a different hemisphere for new sights!
We had a lot of Mtn Campgrounds that you wanted to stay up all night watching the sky.That is OK cuz nights (in DEC and JAN) are very short! 11PM till 4 AM

Yes, don't miss stargazing! The drive is nothing. (Be careful) Sleepy / distracted drivers are a WORSE threat...(24x7)
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Old 09-28-2017, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Manitou Springs
1,016 posts, read 1,120,678 times
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Like Elvis ... the OP has left the building.
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