With one of the darkest skies, Cherry Springs State Park offers incredible opportunities for world-class astronomy. The views in a remote area of Pennsylvania can fill you with wonder as you look up and see thousands of twinkling lights overhead.
But it’s not always so easy to get the majestic view. You need to know some things first, such as the best time to visit Cherry Springs State Park and how to avoid crowds. Let us be your guide!
The Best Time to Visit Cherry Springs State Park
The best time to visit Cherry Springs State Park is during the warmer months, from May through early October.
This time makes it easy to get outside and spend hours looking up at the stunning skies. The temperatures can be on the warmer side during the peak months of July and August, but they’re still reasonable overall.
You can stay at a few nearby hotels to catch the sights in the park. But one of the best ways to experience the dark skies is by staying at the campground at the park.
It offers spaces for tents and RVs, along with all the amenities you need, offering a fun, affordable outing for the whole family.
The weather is known for being the best during these months, but you’ll want to scour the weather forecasts carefully as your trip dates approach. Clear skies are a necessity to get the best astronomy experience. Even a light cloud layer can interrupt the sights.
Thankfully, the park doesn’t usually get that busy, even during these great months. It’s well isolated and on its own, far from the well-worn path of large tourist crowds.
Cheapest Time to Visit Cherry Springs State Park
The cheapest time to visit Cherry Springs State Park is during the winter months. Most people prefer to go when the area has warmer weather, making it easy to spend long hours under the night sky.
So if you can battle the cold, you’ll be away from crowds and able to get better deals. It’s always nice to get away from the busiest times, especially to get great deals on flights, rental cars, and accommodations.
You can get the best flight prices during winter, usually around November through March. If you want the lowest airfare and hotels or campsites, keep your dates flexible and try to book well in advance.
By adjusting your schedule to the pricing fluctuations, you can jump on the best deals when they come up. Just remember that you’ll need to prepare for colder weather.
This area can get snow, making it challenging to spend a lot of time, especially at night and with large, expensive equipment. Compared to the peak summer months, it will be significantly more challenging to be outside enjoying the stars.
Least Busy Time to Visit Cherry Springs State Park
The least busy time to visit Cherry Springs State Park is during the weekdays and away from major holidays.
Many people save their trips for the weekends or holidays when they have off work without taking too many vacation days. If you can go against the crowd and visit on weekdays, you’re more likely to see fewer people around the park.
This strategy helps ensure that no one interrupts your dark sky viewing with car headlights, lanterns, or other light pollution. While it can be tough to find better deals to work around weekday travel, avoiding major holidays can lower your transportation costs.
Flights, rental cars, and nearly any other transportation cost jump over these shared relaxation times, making it more expensive for you to visit. To see the absolute lowest number of people, come on winter weekdays.
It might be chilly, but the people will be nearly absent. This time allows you to soak in the glory of the abundant stars overhead. And you can get the most stunning views of the stars with your telescope.
Worst Time to Visit Cherry Springs State Park
The worst time to visit Cherry Springs State Park is when too many people visit. The crowds usually happen over warm summer holidays, such as the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, or Labor Day weekends.
When there are too many people around, light pollution can become significantly worse. While it might not seem like that big of a deal, it can severely disrupt the sights of the usually incredible skies.
Cherry Springs State Park is well known for its dark skies, but it can’t stop people from shining their headlights or flashlights and causing other light pollution. Another poor time to visit is during the cold winter months.
It can snow at Cherry Springs State Park, making it very difficult to check out the stars, go camping, or do many other activities that are better for warm weather, like hiking and wildlife viewing. It’s possible to get a good deal, and if you must go during this time, you’ll still enjoy it.
Just remember to set a good example by using red lights, turning off lights at night, and encouraging others to do the same. If you go in the winter, be prepared for cold weather and possibly snow.
Why You Should Visit Cherry Springs State Park
The top reason that people visit Cherry Springs State Park is to see crystal-clear images of our sky at its darkest. It is classified as 2 on the Bortle Dark-Sky Scale, meaning there is little light pollution.
The International Dark-Sky Association has designated it as a Gold Tier Dark Sky Park. You can see over 10,000 stars with the naked eye, or bring along your favorite telescope to get a more detailed perspective.
The Milky Way and star-filled sky are so brilliant they cast a shadow like a full moon.
Plus, it’s located on the Allegheny Plateau, giving you 360 degrees without obstruction from mountains or other geographical features in the way. The area surrounding Cherry Springs State Park is also worth checking out during the day when you’re there.
The dense forests once cleared for lumber have now recovered in force, bringing back many animals, such as:
- White-tailed deer
- Black bears
It’s a great place to get away from it all. Hike and adventure during the day through the pristine forests while viewing wildlife.
Then, then pull out your astronomy equipment or enjoy the stars under the black skies of night. We think that Cherry Springs State Park is a place that will bring you more than enough peace (if you go at the right time, that is).
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Cherry Springs State Park:
What is the best time of year to go to Cherry Springs State Park?
The best time of year to go to Cherry Springs State Park is during the warm summer months of June, July, and August. You can also visit during the warm April and May spring months or fall in September and October, but the weather might be slightly less comfortable.
When can you see the northern lights at Cherry Springs State Park?
If you get lucky, you might be able to see northern lights at Cherry Springs State Park from September through March.
The winter skies and lack of crowds make it an ideal time for viewing astronomy. Sometimes northern lights are visible from Cherry Springs State Park, but it’s not always the case, even on nights with excellent conditions.
Can you go to Cherry Springs State Park without a reservation?
Yes, you can go to Cherry Springs State Park without an advanced reservation. It is open for use all year with few exceptions, and you don’t need a reservation to visit or view the stars.
But if you want to stay overnight at the campground, you need a reservation. The sites are limited and can be in short supply on busy holiday weekends, so plan accordingly.
How much does it cost to stay at Cherry Springs State Park?
It costs around $15-$20 per night to stay at Cherry Springs State Park campground during most times of the year. You can also stay at hotels and lodges nearby, with prices from about $90 to $240 per night, depending on the facility and specific dates booked.
Can you see the Milky Way from Cherry Springs?
Yes, you can usually see the Milky Way from Cherry Springs State Park. As long as clouds aren’t in your way and the light pollution isn’t worse than usual, it is normal to have an excellent view of the Milky Way Galaxy from the park with incredibly dark skies.
So, When Should You Visit Cherry Springs State Park?
The best time to visit Cherry Springs State Park is during the warm summer months from June to August while avoiding the busiest holiday weekends such as the Fourth of July.
If you can brave the winter cold, you’ll be rewarded with a lack of crowds and might get a chance to view northern lights from the park’s incredibly dark skies. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!