The International Dark-Sky Association designated over 1,400 square miles in central Idaho as a Dark Sky Reserve. It is the first Dark Sky Reserve in the US and the third-largest amount of land in the world. What makes this designation important, is it is around the towns of Stanley and Ketchum, allowing people to easily see the beauty of the Idaho night sky from their homes. While the Middle Fork Salmon river would certainly qualify to be part of the Dark Sky Reserve, its remoteness and access make it difficult for people to lug their telescope to observe the stars. By raft though, we are able to access and witness this breathtaking night sky. From the moment you look up, you just know you are in a place that is special. With only a campfire and moonlight reflecting off the river and canyon walls, the Middle Fork offers an incredible canvas to see the stars, unlike anything you have ever witnessed.

To honor the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve we wanted to share our favorite star shots from the Middle Fork Salmon River, enjoy a few photos from the best night sky in the US.

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  1. Interesting post & those are beautiful pictures. Many years ago I rafted the Middle Fork with this family’s company- one of the most amazing experiences of my life. One of my strongest memories is the stunning beauty of the night sky. These pictures are good but to see it in real life is so much more powerful. Yes- try to get there to see for yourself if you can. Best wishes to IRJ in 2018!

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