Mojave Desert

This Dark Sky Fest Is Timed to a Major Meteor Shower

The California Dark Sky Festival will take place during the Orionids in the low-lit Panamint Valley.

  • The California Dark Sky Festival twinkles from Oct. 20 through 23, 2022
  • Panamint Valley (near Death Valley National Park)
  • $175 general admission; $55 child admission; add-on photography workshops available for a separate fee

THE LAST THIRD OF OCTOBER? Hardly anyone would quibble with you over the notion that the final part of the tenth month is quite the strange time of year. Front yards brim with tombstones and skeletons, ghosts grace porches, and the world takes on a peculiar patina, thanks to the fast approach of Halloween. But you can look beyond your local yards and porches for surreal but science-strong scenes, the sort of sights that hail from far beyond our planet. For the California Dark Sky Festival will peer upward over three event-filled nights, all to give aficionados of ethereal adventures, desert landscapes, the Milky Way, and meteors a true treat, with no tricks involved.

OCT. 20 THROUGH 23... are the 2022 dates, Panamint Valley is the location, and several galactic goings-on will be swirling through the atmosphere, with nighttime photography workshops, astronomy talks, and other idea-big pursuits on the schedule. And while you can't pinpoint the exact moment a meteor might streak across the sky, being in the marvelous Mojave during the height of the Orionids Meteor Shower seems like a good place to be and a good time to be in. That's just when the sky show is expected to dazzle, adding another layer of lovely look-up-a-tude to the proceedings. And we do mean "lovely," for "huge" telescopes will be available for space-forward gazing.

TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW, and there are add-on events, if you'd like to make a full three nights of your visit. Where to stay? SHIFTPODS, right there at the fest, are one option, or you're invited to arrive in your RV or with camp-out gear. Read more now about the first California Dark Sky Festival, and how you can spend a few October nights, a week or so ahead of Halloween, finding different sorts of thrills in a spot where monsters are scarce but meteors, fingers crossed, may be plentiful.

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