Home of Cherry Springs State Park
Your Cabin Lodging for Amazing Star Gazing
Coudersport, Pa - Potter County
The Gateway to the Dark Skies at
Cherry Springs State Park

  Share the Milky Way, Aurora Borealis, Meteor Showers, Zodiacal Light with Family & Friends

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Cherry Springs State Park
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Cherry Springs State Park


  

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Information about Cherry Springs State Park

Cherry Springs State Park
4639 Cherry Springs Rd
Coudersport, PA 16915
814-435-5010
41.6628° N, 77.8231° W
Located between Coudersport and Galeton Pa 16922

Cherry Springs State Park Clear Sky Chart

Cherry Springs State Park is nearly as remote and wild today as it was two centuries ago. Its dark skies make it a haven for astronomers. Named for the large stands of black cherry trees in the park, the 48-acre state park is surrounded by the 262,000-acre Susquehannock State Forest. The Susquehanna Trail passes nearby and offers 85 miles of backpacking and hiking.
Due to its exceptionally dark skies, Cherry Springs State Park is one of the best places on the eastern seaboard for stargazing and the science of astronomy.

Interested in observing the dark night skies? The following information will help you make the most of your first visit to Cherry Springs State Park.
 PA DCNR - Cherry Springs State Park

Short Term Stargazing

If you would like to come out and enjoy the magnificent night sky at Cherry Springs and only wish to gaze for a few hours, you may do so at the Night Sky Viewing area located north of Rt. 44 (opposite the gated Astronomy Observation Field). Public parking lots are located here along with several information kiosks and waysides. You may follow the walkway out to the public program area where benches are located and you will be shielded from passing vehicle lights. There is also a backlit summer sky map wayside located on this pathway. Press the button at the lower side of the display to activate the red light.

Although white light is permitted, a red filter or cover for your flashlight is recommended to preserve your night vision. Please remember to always direct your light downward.

Cherry Springs State Park is located on top of a mountain and the weather generally tends to be on the cool side. It can also be damp. It is recommended that you wear proper clothing and foot gear. Feel free to bring out your own blankets, lawn chairs, binoculars and telescopes when you visit the park.

Check the Calendar of Events for astronomy programs being presented at the park.

If you bring your pet, you are responsible for ALL of their actions. Be advised that pets are NOT permitted on the Astronomy Observation Field while astronomers are present.

Getting Started Stargazing

Whether you view the night sky with telescope, binoculars or the naked eye, here are a few tips to enhance your stargazing experience:

 It
takes a minimum of 15 minutes outside in the dark for your eyes to adapt to the lack of light.
Be careful not to look at any bright lights. Cover your flashlight with red cellophane or use a red lens. Red light will not lessen your night vision.
The best viewing occurs during the dark of the moon lunar phase that produces the darkest skies.


Binoculars at 7 x 50 power are the most popular size for stargazing, but the more-standard 7 x 35 will work
fine to get started.

  • Meteor Showers are an excellent time to view the night sky, adding the excitement of ‘falling stars’ as they are sometimes called. The park offers public programming each August during the Perseids Meteor Shower. Check the Calendar of Events page for scheduled programs.
  • Star Hopping is a common method to learn to navigate the night sky and begin to identify constellations.
  • Visible Constellations in the evening sky change with the seasons. These guides show some common and easy-to-find constellations for each season.
  • Star maps and charts will help you learn the position of constellations at different times of the year, and the positions of major stars and constellations, many of which can be seen with the naked eye. One source is: www.skymaps.com/downloads.html

 Cherry Springs State Park and the Dark Sky Fund/Association

Cherry Springs State Park
c/o Lyman Run State Park
454 Lyman Run Road

Galeton, PA 16922
Phone: (814) 435-5010
Email: lymanrunsp@state.pa.us

Map & Directions - GPS coordinates for CSSP are 41.6501 N , 77.8164 W

From East - I-80 to 180 (Williamsport), 15N to 414 (Morris) - 287 to Wellsboro- 660/362 to 362 to Rt.6. Turn west to Galeton, turn left at West St. past stop light (this is the fastest way, but bumpy..also takes you to Lyman Run if you are picking up Dome keys. Or continue on 6 up Denton Hill past Potato City Inn. Next left dirt road is Billy Lewis which will take you across to Rt. 44 just east of Patterson Park, Turn left on 44 to CSSP. Or continue again on 6 to Rt. 44 in Sweden Valley. Turn left...Continue to CSSP.

From West: I-80 to 220 to Williamsport, then same as above.

From North: NY Rt. 86 (17) to 15 S. at Painted Post going to Williamsport. Get off at Tioga Rt. 287 S. Continue to Rt. 6, turn West to Galeton to West St. to CSSP.

Sweden Valley Cabins
Coudersport Pa 16915
 Call Us at 814-320-3191
 

Our Featured Cabins available for groups of 2 - 12.
Blue Skies Lodge with a 10 acre Star Gazing field 
A Cabin By The Stream An Authentic Vintage Streamside Log Cabin
Cherry Springs Cabin - Private 3 Acre Star Gazing Field



Cherry Springs State Park is a 106-acre Pennsylvania State Park in Potter County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The park was created from land within the Susquehannock State Forest, and is on Pennsylvania Rt 44 in West Branch Township. Cherry Springs, named for a large stand of Black Cherry Trees trees in the park, is atop the dissected Allegheny Plateau at an elevation of
2,300 feet (701 m). It is popular with
astronomers and stargazers for having some of the "darkest night skies on the east coast" of the United States, and was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources 
(DCNR) and its Bureau of Parks as one of "Twenty Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks".

Cherry Springs State Park was named Pennsylvania's first Dark Sky Park by the DCNR in 2000. The adjoining Cherry Springs Airport, built in 1935, was closed and its land was added to the park in 2006, to expand its stargazing area. On June 11, 2007, the International Dark-Sky Association named it the second "International Dark Sky Park"; under optimum conditions the Milky Way casts a discernible shadow. Cherry Springs has received national press coverage and hosts two Star Parties a year, which attract hundreds of astronomers. There are regular stargazing and educational programs for the public at the park, and the Woodsmen's Show attracts thousands each summer. Cherry Springs also offers picnic facilities, and trails for mountain biking, hiking and
snowmobiling.

Astronomers and stargazers appreciate Cherry Springs State Park for the darkness and clarity of its skies, which make it "perhaps the last best refuge of the natural night sky" in the eastern half of the United States. The sky at Cherry Springs has been classified as a 2 on the Bortle Dark Sky Scale, meaning it has almost no light pollution.  Such "truly dark, starry skies are unavailable to two-thirds of the world’s population, including 99 percent of people in the continental U.S. and Western Europe". With optimum conditions, 10,000 stars are visible with the naked eye at the park, clouds appear only as black holes in the starry sky, and the Milky Way is so bright that it casts a discernible shadow.  In contrast, big city residents can see a few dozen stars at best, and even those in rural areas can typically only see 2,000–3,000 stars. The Milky Way cannot be seen by most in the eastern US, even when there is no moonlight to obscure it.

The quality of the night skies at the park and its growing popularity for stargazing are the result of several factors. Cherry Springs is in the midst of the largely undeveloped 262,000-acre (106,000 ha) Susquehannock State Forest, and is on a summit 2,300 feet (701 m) above sea level. Because it is on the Allegheny Plateau, there are no mountain peaks to block the sky, and the Astronomy Field offers a 360 degree unobstructed view. The closest city is Williamsport, 60 miles (97 km) to the southeast. Surrounding communities sit in deep valleys, so the intervening terrain screens much of the light they produce; the park has no artificial skyglow in any direction. Cherry Springs is generally fog-free and its latitude puts it in excellent position to observe the Galactic Center of the Milky Way. The remote location also means there is little commercial air traffic to interfere with astrophotography, while PA Route 44 still offers relatively easy access to the park from Intterstate 80.

In addition to these natural factors, much has been done intentionally to make the skies at the park clear and dark and help keep them that way. Within the park, former overhead electrical lines have been buried so they do not obstruct views, all lighting is shielded, and all white lights have been converted to red, which has the least effect on night vidion and astrophotography. Light from passing vehicles is blocked by earthen berms covered with grass, or shrubbery and spruce trees; the Astronomy Field gate has a special light-blocking tarp. The park's Dark Sky Fund has paid for many of these improvements since 1999.

Since the 2006 acquisition of the Cherry Springs airport, a new Public Programming field has been established on the former airstrip. This field is northeast of PA Route 44 and is intended for educational programs or stargazing, but not for those who spend the night. Overnight observers and those with large telescopes use the Astronomy Field southwest of the highway. Nighttime visitors may only use flashlights with red filters, and may only point them at the ground. The Astronomy Field has further restrictions on lights, and parts of the park are light-free zones.



 

The Cabins are located just off Scenic Pa Rt 6, Just east of Coudersport Pa, the County Seat of Potter County. Located between Wellsboro Pa and Port Allegany Pa. 

Easy access to  Coudersport Pennsylvania, Roulette, Fisk Hollow, Pine Hill,   Austin Pa, Wharton Pa,
Galeton Pa, Gaines Pa, Port Allegany Pa, Westfield Pa, Ulysses Pa, Wellsboro Pa, Sweden Valley Pa, Shinglehouse Pa, Denton
Hill, Genesee Pa, Cherry Springs Pa, Gold Pa, Cross Fork Pa, Harrison Valley Pa, Keating Summit Pa, Oswayo Pa, Clara Pa, West
Pike Pa, Sharon Center Pa, Hebron Pa, Fox Hill, Eleven Mile Pa, Ayers Hill, Brookland, Costello Pa, Allegheny National Forest,  
Wellsboro Pa inTioga County and Port Allegany Pa in McKean County

Sweden Valley Cabins
 
Coudersport, Pa in Potter County 16915
814-320-3191

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