Cosmic Campground International Dark Sky Sanctuary (CCIDSS) is the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary located on National Forest System lands and also in North America. It is also one of only 10 certified IDA Sanctuaries in the world. International Dark Sky Sanctuaries are lands possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights. For more information on dark skies or the International Dark Sky Association -http://www.darksky.org/.
The CCIDSS offers a 360-degree, unobstructed view of the night sky, and often hosts “star parties” in cooperation with the partner group “Friends of the Cosmic Campground.” This site is situated where there nearest significant source of artificial light is more than 40 miles away, and across the state line in Arizona. .
Night vision is necessary to enjoy the night sky. If you look at white light from either your flashlight or your cell phone you will not be able to enjoy the wonders of the natural night sky for 20-30 minutes. In order to respect your fellow star gazers the Forest Service recommends:
No parking on the observation/telescope pads No camp fires on observation pads Use a red filter over your flashlight lens Try to arrive before dark so that your headlights won’t distort your night vision Quiet times (no generator use) between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. CCIDSS is a primitive campground with minimal site amenities including an information kiosk, a pit toilet, and four concrete telescope/observation pads. Currently, there is very minimal shade available however, future planning developments intend to erect a shade pavilion as well as improve individual campsite amenities as funding comes available.
This is a small campground on top of a hill, therefore great for stargazing! It is dispersed camping (yea, free!) and has two vault toilets. The bathrooms/toilets were well kept and not super stinky like in some places. There's gravel parking great for RVs, and plenty room beyond that for tents. However, there is NO shade, so beware the summer afternoon. Perhaps because of this there was hardly anyone there, but that's makes for a quiet, unintrusive stay. Also, there are some free range cows, so watch out for cow patties.