Crestone Needle (Photo) Credit shknbke (iStock)

Alpenglow on 14er Crestone Needle, Sangre de Cristo mountains, Colorado.

Photo Credit: shknbke (iStock).

Another destination in Colorado has been recognized for its sparkling dark skies by the International Dark Sky Association.

Crestone is a mountain town nestled in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in southwest Colorado. On May 14, the town was designated as an International Dark Sky Community by the organization that praises destinations for its commitment to low light pollution. 

The organization said the recognition is a reflection of Crestone's spiritual and environmental values. Crestone is a sanctuary for people of all forms of spiritual beliefs and values. The mountain town hosts many spiritual centers representing various sects of at least seven religions including Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, Catholicism, Christianity, and more. In the case of Tibetan Buddhism, at least six different spiritual centers can be found around town, each representing a different organization.

Crestone, Colorado

Prayer flags near Crestone, Colorado. Photo Credit, courtesy of: Gabby Palko.

The community of Crestone is praised by the dark sky organization for its dedication to preserve the night sky by implementing lighting policies, dark sky education, and citizen support. Crestone is only 31st designated International Dark Sky Community worldwide and the fourth in Colorado.

The town's high elevation, low humidity, and distance from Colorado’s major cities combine to create incredible clear views of the night sky.

Crestone, Colorado

Tashi Gomang Stupa. Crestone, Colorado. Photo Credit, courtesy of: Gabby Palko.

crestone1 (web copy)

Crestone is home to more than two dozen spiritual retreat centers and sacred sites ranging from ashrams, stupas and a ziggurat to monasteries, temples and labyrinths.

Crestone was established as a mining town in 1880 and with a population today of about 130 residents. Religious structures found in the town include ashrams, monasteries, temples, spiritual retreat centers, stupas, labyrinths, and other sacred sites. One of the most unique spiritual structures is the Crestone Ziggurat.

The town's commitment to the environment reflects in its adoption of the Rights of Nature Resolution in 2018, making Crestone the first International Dark Sky Community the first in the world to practice it. The Rights of Nature Resolution states that Crestone officially recognizes “that nature, natural ecosystems, communities and all species possess intrinsic and inalienable rights which must be effectuated to protect life on Earth.”

Other designated International Dark Sky destinations in Colorado include the following:

-Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

-Dinosaur National Monument

-Great Sand Dunes National Park

-Hovenweep National Monument

-Jackson Lake State Park

-Mesa Verde National Park

-Slumgullion Center

International Dark Sky Communities

-Norwood, Colorado

-Ridgway, Colorado

-Westcliffe/Silver Cliff, Colorado

Leslie James is all about Colorado when it comes to writing features, sharing adventures, and creating colorful galleries. She loves camping, hiking, mountain biking and snowboarding. Leslie joined OutThere Colorado in November 2020.

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