If you've ever dreamed of seeing the night sky the way it was supposed to be seen, then consider the Great Basin Star Train. Imagine looking up into the dark sky in the middle of Nevada with no light pollution to block your view of the Milky Way. This historic train ride is the ultimate stargazing adventure as most people will never actually get to see a natural night sky like our ancestors did years ago.
The star train trip starts in the town of Ely, Nevada at 7:30 p.m. There you'll be hosted by rangers (the Dark Rangers) from Great Basin National Park for your journey on the Nevada Northern Railway Museum's train. The train runs 11 miles so you can catch views of the sunset while the train travels 800 feet up the mountain.
Your astronomy guides (the park rangers) will set up special telescopes at the end of the route for everyone to enjoy the crystal clear starry night.
Mark Bassett, the museum's executive director, tells the Los Angeles Times that there is even a chance to see some planets. "Usually they can see a couple of constellations. Jupiter and Saturn often pop out."
Unfortunately, the train rides are sold out through 2019 but you can start planning ahead for 2020. Ely is around 4 hours away from the bright lights of Las Vegas so if you want you can even stay overnight in the train caboose for $60. Normal tickets are $41 for adults over 13 and $20 for kids 4-12.
Even if the train schedule doesn't work for you, Great Basin National Park is still an amazing location to visit for stargazing. It was even named an International Dark Sky Park in 2016. This basically means that the International Dark Sky Association protects the sky from light pollution. The park is also home to the annual Astronomy Festival.