Stars above Canyonlands National Park

Astronomy Trips

Group of travelers gathered around a camp fire under a sky full of stars.

Stars & Guitars Trips with OARS

Has the Milky Way gone missing where you live? Light pollution has become so prevalent that it’s depriving many people the chance to experience one of the greatest wonders of the world—a brilliant star-filled sky. Fortunately we happen to know where you can still find some of the best stargazing on the planet.

Thanks to the National Park Service’s initiative to protect our night skies, many of our national parks top the list on where to see stars. Of course, rafting trips—especially on rivers throughout the Desert Southwest where open skies abound and light pollution is non-existent—get our vote.

In fact, after years of people raving about the incredible stargazing our multi-day rafting trips offer combined with some of our guides’ passion for all things celestial, we were inspired to launch a series of astronomy trips that cater to lovers of the night sky.

On our Cataract Canyon “Stars & Guitars” astronomy trips in Canyonlands National Park, veteran OARS guides Pete Lefebvre and Dave Garcia—both talented musicians and astronomy enthusiasts—bring their guitars along for an entertaining and enriching exploration of the cosmos each night. Stargazing on the river in an International Dark Sky Park with live music? Bonus.

Not to be overlooked, however, we also offer a trip with Pete on Utah’s San Juan River which combines the ancestral culture and history of the Desert Southwest, astronomy and storytelling for a fascinating lesson in archaeoastronomy.

And if our special astronomy-focused departures aren’t the right fit for you, we can promise an awesome stargazing experience on just about any of our wilderness rafting trips. All you have to do is look up.

Specialty Trips


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San Juan river with the canyon formations in the background.

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