The International Dark-Sky Association has designated over 1,400 square miles in central Idaho as a Dark Sky Reserve, marking it as the first in the US and the third largest globally. This designation holds particular significance as it encompasses the towns of Stanley and Ketchum, enabling residents and visitors to easily enjoy the stunning Idaho night sky right from their backyards. Although the Middle Fork Salmon River could also qualify as part of the Dark Sky Reserve, its remoteness and limited access make it challenging for star enthusiasts to bring their telescopes. However, by raft, we can access these remote areas and witness a breathtaking night sky. The moment you gaze upward, you immediately feel the uniqueness of this place. Illuminated only by campfire light and moonlight reflecting off the river and canyon walls, the Middle Fork offers a spectacular natural canvas that showcases the stars in an unparalleled way.

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. Photos below from the Idaho River Journeys crew.

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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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