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PARK UPDATE:

The Observatory will be opening for the 2024 season on April 5th and programs will be every Friday and Saturday night through Oct. 19th (weather permitting)

Spring/Summer 2024 Update:

  • Camping reservation season is March 15, 2024 to October 20, 2024. Campsites and cabins located in Broken Wheel and Eagle Cove are available for reservations. Same day camping is available in the Equestrian campground and all unreserved sites.
  • Reservations can be made 9 months in advance at idahostateparks.reserveamerica.com or by calling 1-888-922-6743
  • Sand board rentals are available at the Visitor Center. Due to limited staffing in the off season, please call ahead to verify VC hours of operation. Board rentals stop for the day when it reached 80° in the park.
  • The Motor Vehicle Entrance Fee is required. It is the responsibility of the driver to bring cash or check as the Visitor Center and Entrance Kiosk hours vary. Failure to pay the MVEF will result in Citation or Surcharge (IDAPA 26.01.20)

Please note: UAV/Drone use is only permitted in the designated UAV area (contact the park for location). Flight outside of the designated are is strictly prohibited.

The park has day use areas, which include the dunes, which are only open to the public from 7 am to 10 pm. Please refer to IDAPA code 26.01.20.

Park Reservations
By phone: 1-888-9-CAMPID or 1-888-922-6743

The Observatory will be opening for the 2024 season on April 5th and programs will be every Friday and Saturday night through Oct. 15th

Current weather conditions at the observatory.

You’re invited to star gaze at the Bruneau Dunes Observatory! See the night sky as you’ve never seen it before. Observatory tours and solar viewing (through a specially adapted telescope) begin one hour before sunset, and are free of cost.

Following that, visitors can view short orientation program and then have the chance to survey the heavens through the observatory’s collection of telescopes. There is a per person viewing fee (children 5 and under are free of cost). Check event listings for fees.

The observatory is open to the public from early April through mid-October on Friday and Saturday nights only, weather permitting. For presentation times, call 208-366-7919, or check the kiosk when you arrive at the park.

*Observatory nights are only held on Friday and Saturday nights, with the exception of 3-day holiday weekends.

Observatory Info

In 1998 our first observatory was dedicated in cooperation with the Boise Astronomical Society. They chose this site because of its limited light pollution. The 25” Obsession reflecting telescope was donated by BAS, and has provided amazing views to thousands of visitors each year. In 2023 a second observatory was built, housing a Planewave CDK700 telescope that provides imaging and remote use capabilities. The dome of the new observatory is also used as a planetarium, providing programs during the day and on cloudy nights.

Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation has identified the resource of our beautiful dark skies as a treasure to be protected.  Many of our Parks and Natural spaces in Idaho are striving to increase awareness of the dangers of light pollution, to reduce their impact on the night sky environment and obtain Dark Sky certifications where appropriate through the International Dark-Sky Association.  Please visit www.darksky.org for more information on this initiative and how you can make an impact!

What is light pollution?

Inappropriate or access use of artificial light.

Why is light pollution having a negative effect on Idaho?

  • Plants and animals depend on daily light cycles to sustain life preserving behaviors, such as migratory patterns and feeding cycles, artificial light at night has negative and even deadly effects on many wildlife species.
  • Nighttime viewing of astronomy is severely inhibited by “Sky glow” a phenomenon produced by large emissions of artificial light at night, additionally your natural night vision is briefly inhibited by white artificial light.
  • Many Americans sleep in an environment that’s punctuated with some form of artificial light — whether it’s coming from an intrusive streetlight, outdoor camper lighting or flashlights.  New research suggests that one night of sleep with just a moderate amount of light may have adverse effects on cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Steps you can take to preserve night sky’s while enjoying your stay at any Idaho State Campground:

  • Swap outdoor lighting on your camper to an amber lensed fixture.
  • Change out high admitting bulbs to bulbs emitting under 500 lumens.
  • Make efforts to direct fixtures toward the ground and apply shields preventing vertical light emission.
  • Keep all lighting targeted in the direction it is needed and avoid unnecessary artificial light at night whenever possible.

Current Conditions

Contact the Park

Address: 27608 Sand Dunes Rd
Mountain Home, ID 83647
Phone: (208) 366-7919
Hours of Operation: Day-use locations within state parks are open from 7 am to 10 pm, per Idaho state code 26.01.20 (5). Day-use hours may change based on park manager discretion.

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