The International Dark-Sky Association awarded the towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff an International Dark Sky Community Designation in 2015. The designation honors Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley’s dedication to reducing light pollution and follows a detailed application process.

To gain the official Dark Sky Community designation, Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley encouraged lighting codes that restrict unshielded lights and outline how new public lighting will be installed. The organization also created awareness in local publications, through dark-sky education and at public events.

Westcliffe and Silver Cliff comprise the first dark sky community in Colorado. They are the ninth—and highest—such community the world. In addition to preserving the physical and emotional benefits of stunningly starry nights for those in Custer County, the designation draws stargazers from around the world to visit our International Dark Sky Community.

The International Dark-Sky Association is the recognized authority on, and the leading organization combating, light pollution worldwide. Based in Tucson, it has granted designation to Dark Sky communities, parks, reserves and sanctuaries since 1998.

Experience it for yourself and visit 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.

Photograph courtesy of Harun Mehmedinovic/SKYGLOW

How Westcliffe and Silver Cliff Became an International Dark Sky Community