One of the most striking desert experiences is looking up at the night sky and seeing the abundant stars and heavenly bodies above you. With the restriction of street lamps, Palm Springs has preserved the natural beauty of the night sky nurturing this amazing and ancient experience. Of course, our favorite stargazing spot is the hot tub at Santiago, but when you’re ready to dry off, you might want to check out some of these other great spots to see the stars. Showing nightly!
Rancho Mirage Public Library Observatory
Opened a little over a year ago, this state-of-the-art observatory is open to the public with programs, exhibits, and events. The impressive observatory is happy to welcome guests to learn more about astronomy with telescope-viewing and stargazing. Knowledgeable guides point out gems in the dark sky and answer questions — and yes, it's all free.
If you’re interested in a “Star Gazing” event, pre-registration is required. These events fill up quickly once announced.
Calendar of events
For a "Behind the scenes" Observatory Facility Tour (no registration required) meet in the Library Lobby, Tuesdays through Saturdays, two tours a day. (9 AM and 3 PM) for a 45-minute tour
71-100 Highway 111
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
Sky-Watcher Star Tours
For the ultimate deluxe experience, check out the folks at Sky-Watcher Star Tours. Their two-hour guided stargazing tours in Joshua Tree include large 10” telescopes, binoculars, chairs, pillows and blankets, and a picnic basket filled with snacks!
Do it yourself type?
Here are a few of our favorite secluded spots where you can pull off the road and find your own private viewing scene:
- Joshua Tree National Park has an abundance of locations that can be accessed without hiking at night. The National Park Service has made it part of its mission to protect and preserve dark night skies so we can admire the Milky Way.
- Coachella Valley Preserve is located in Thousand Palms, just down the road from Palm Springs on Ramon Road. You can find a spot away from the road and stargaze knowing the San Andreas Fault is practically under your feet
- Sky Valley, California is an appropriately named town just east of Palm Springs. Just pull off the main road (Dillon Rd) and find a safe spot to stop and enjoy the view.
- Whitewater Canyon Preserve is located north of Palm Springs. As you drive up the canyon to the preserve, you'll find several great areas to pull off for your stargazing pleasure.