A group of Custer County citizens formed Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley in 1998, seeking to protect their and future generations’ view of the night sky. With little development and miles of open space, the Wet Mountain Valley seemed a perfect location to celebrate cosmic views far from city lights.

The organization pointed out the economic, physical and psychological benefits of dark night skies. Members worked with ranchers, business owners and government agencies to retrofit or replace outdoor lighting. They encouraged Silver Cliff and Westcliffe to adopt outdoor-lighting ordinances.

In 2015, Westcliffe and Silver Cliff received their designation as an International Dark Sky Community from the International Dark-Sky Association. The towns comprise the only Dark Sky Community in Colorado and the ninth in the world.

Photographers and stargazers now come from across America and around the world to view our valley’s phenomenal night sky. Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley provides them with the magical experience of a night sky much like the earliest pioneers saw. Visit www.darkskiescolorado.org for upcoming events and star parties or to book a free private star party at the Smokey Jack Observatory from March 22-November 3, 2019.