Truly exceptional stargazing requires being somewhere far from city lights so the night sky is very dark. Unfortunately, finding lodging in such remote locations can be challenging.
That’s where Under Canvas — which offers upscale, safari-style accommodations featuring indoor luxuries — comes in.
Although it has numerous locations with memorable stargazing opportunities, the Under Canvas Lake Powell – Grand Staircase property in Utah is notable because it is the first-ever DarkSky-certified resort in the world. That certification is possible because Under Canvas collaborated with DarkSky International, formerly the International Dark-Sky Association, to develop criteria for certifying that lodging has taken measures to protect the night sky from light pollution.
“Under Canvas has been working diligently for several years on assessing sky quality, inventorying lights, and making the necessary changes to meet our program requirements,” said Ruskin Hartley, DarkSky International’s CEO and executive director, according to CNN Travel. “While this is the first DarkSky Approved Lodge, we are optimistic that the growing interest in astrotourism and dark sky travel will mean it will not be the last.”
What Is DarkSky Lodging?
“DarkSky Approved Lodging is overnight visitor accommodation with exceptional or distinguished quality starry nights and a nighttime environment preserved through onsite DarkSky Approved lighting,” DarkSky International explains. “They include camps, seasonal campgrounds, hotels and resorts, retreat centers, properties promoting ecotourism, and astrotourism lodges that are located in dark sky locations.”
That means, for instance, that the lodging must be located in a region with an exceptionally dark sky. The facility must also take steps to reduce the impact of light at night and “showcase exemplary outdoor lighting practices.”
As you may expect, the facility must also allow regular nighttime viewing of the dark sky by guests and also provide them with educational or outreach material about night sky conservation.
The Under Canvas Lake Powell – Grand Staircase Property
The luxury tent resort at Under Canvas Lake Powell – Grand Staircase is located on a canyon rim plateau.
“Explore the splendor of the American Southwest with a stay at Under Canvas Lake Powell – Grand Staircase, featuring upscale, safari-inspired tents with king-size beds, plush linens, en suite bathrooms with hot showers, wood-burning stoves, and stunning views,” Under Canvas explains.
The camp’s other amenities include organic bath products stocked in ensuite bathrooms, evening campfires with s’mores, and complimentary activities such as live music, morning yoga, and kids’ activities. And, of course, the camp’s onsite dining features a menu that “embraces both seasonality and locally sourced produce,” Under Canvas continues.
More Than Stargazing
While Under Canvas Lake Powell – Grand Staircase is known for its stargazing, it should be noted that the camp’s location — just a few miles from Lake Powell — offers guests a number of opportunities for daytime adventures.
“Located on the border of Grand Staircase-Escalante, you’re able to hike towering mesas, unwind in a red-rock oasis, and enjoy water adventures all in 1 day,” Under Canvas explains. “If you’re looking for water sports or to soak up some sun on a beach, you’ll find numerous things to do on and around Lake Powell, just 14 miles from our upscale accommodations.”
Those activities include hiking some of the nearly 1 million acres of trails in the Grand Staircase-Escalante area, exploring the area’s countless slot canyons, narrow gorges formed by natural rushing water, as well as a slot canyon on site at Under Canvas Lake Powell – Grand Staircase known as Elephant Canyon.
Guests can also visit Antelope Canyon, one of the most photographed slot canyons in the world, to see a spectacular sunrise or sunset as light from the Sun moves across red and pink sandstone cliffs.
You can learn more and even book reservations at Under Canvas Lake Powell – Grand Staircase.