Big Bend NP, TX
Sleep with 2,000 night lights.
Big Bend is one of the world’s five Gold Tier International Dark Sky Parks, so expect impressive nights parkwide. But on the South Rim of the Chisos Mountains, the view is wide open, and the lights are all celestial: the near- est town is a Mexican village with no electricity. After dark, up to 2,000 stars shine bright enough to throw shadows. From the Chisos Basin trailhead, hike Laguna Meadow Trail 5.8 miles up 1,900 feet through oak, juniper, and piñon. Trace the rim of the Chisos, a 2,600-foot drop-off facing a jagged escarpment, and pick a campsite over- looking this wide-open darkness. Next morning, complete a 13.9-mile loop via the steep and scenic Boot Canyon and Pinnacles Trails. (432-477-2251, nps.gov/bibe) Trip data backpacker.com/hikes/54074
The way From Alpine, TX, go 99 miles on TX 118 S. Turn right on Basin Rd. and go 6.4 miles to the Chisos Basin trailhead, next to the ranger station.