Stars Over Katahdin is our annual celebration of the unparalleled night skies of the Katahdin region. Each year,  Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters gathers Volunteers In Parks (VIPs) astronomers and star enthusiasts to enjoy the Monument in fall and observe the stunning celestial objects above the Loop Road Overlook at Mile 6.4.


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Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

The event typically starts beneath the biggest star in our sky, the sun, with an interpretive hike to Orin Falls. Our evening program begins with a campfire chat below the Loop Road Overlook where, with hot cocoa and s’mores in hand, some of our volunteers share scientific lessons and rousing anecdotes while we wait for the skies to darken. Following our campfire program, we head to the Loop Road Overlook where our Astro VIPs teach us what lies overhead through interpretation of stars, planets, and celestial objects seen with telescopes, binoculars, and the naked eye.

Stars Over the Katahdin takes place while Friends, Elliotsville Foundation, Inc., and the National Park Service continue their collective effort to have the Monument designated as a Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark Sky Association. The efforts to conserve the night skies of the region were previously covered in the Portland Press Herald’s feature “Let there be dark: Advocates push Maine as astrotourism destination” and The County’s article “Dark skies a resource to protect.” Light pollution maps show that this part of Maine is home to a patch of dark skies larger than any other in the United States East of the Mississippi River. With a total eclipse expected to move directly over the Monument in 2024, dark sky advocates pushing for the International Dark Sky Sanctuary hope Katahdin Woods and Waters can be a major destination for astrotourists from across the world.