Lassen Volcanic National Park is happily situated well away from any population centers with bright city lights. The nighttime glow caused by those artificial lights (even from very small cities) is called light pollution, and it is more than just an annoying condition that makes it harder to see stars at night. Light pollution also disrupts the biological rhythms of nocturnal wildlife, sometimes with fatal results, and excessive electric lighting wastes energy as well. But its effect upon the experience of the nighttime sky is where it reveals itself most dramatically.
Everyone with unimpaired vision has had the experience of looking up into the sky on a cloudless night and seeing a large number of stars. Try it anywhere in Lassen Volcanic National Park, however, and the difference is staggering. Unless you’ve already traveled to a remote area and seen the night sky in all its glory, you will have no idea of the overwhelming awe and wonder, the grandeur, of the undefiled night sky.
As it says in its brochures, “Half the park is after dark!” Lassen is one of the last sanctuaries of natural darkness, and its night skies offer an unparalleled view of the heavens. You can see the Milky Way like you’ve never seen it before, if in fact you’ve ever seen it. The experience is so remarkable that Lassen holds an annual Dark Skies Festival every summer, with numerous educational presentations during the day, and stargazing both with the naked eye and through the many telescopes that are set up for more intimate nighttime viewing.
Lassen’s night sky is an experience not to be missed, and it’s perfect for the entire family.