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STATE PARK ADVENTURES

Starry Night


For many people, gazing into the night sky sparks a special kind of appreciation and awe. Copper Breaks State Park in the Rolling Plains of North Texas provides a perfect place to see the stars, away from the bright lights of the city.

The park offers stargazers plenty of wide-open spaces and dark skies, enabling unimpeded viewing of constellations, planets, nebulae, galaxies and other celestial wonders. It has been designated as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association. Copper Breaks has a Bortle Scale rating of 2 (the scale ranges from Class 1, the darkest skies available, through Class 9, city skies).

“The stars steal the show,” says park interpretive specialist Stewart Lefevre. “They’re so vibrant out here. On a new-moon night, they are truly spectacular.”

The park presents ranger-led stargazing programs throughout the year.

Texas’ night skies are growing brighter all the time, with the spread of artificial lights being the main culprit. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department promotes preservation of night skies and stargazing through its dark skies program.

After the sun goes down at Copper Breaks, visitors can head to the Dark Sky Viewing Area or just stay in a campsite to check out the Milky Way, winter constellations such as Orion the hunter, summer constellations such as Sagittarius the centaur and year-round favorites such as the Big and Little Dipper.

“The cosmos is within us,” astronomer Carl Sagan said. “We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”

Perhaps you’ll feel the same inclination to ponder your place in the universe as you gaze into the night sky.

>>  Our PBS TV show features a dark skies story, “The Night’s Watch,” the week of April 24-30, or watch later on our Youtube channel.

Take a Break

The Comanche made their home here near the Pease River, a land of rugged, scenic beauty once rich in bison and other wildlife.

Camping

Meet the Longhorns

Members of the official State Longhorn Herd reside here, and you can meet these icons of Texas and learn about their history during ranger programs each weekend.

Paddling

Explore the Trails

Most park trails are open to hiking and mountain biking, and several are available for equestrian use. Trails range from flat and easy to rocky and challenging.

Hiking

Hit the Water

Lake Copper Breaks offers swimming, boating and fishing. There’s a boat ramp and fishing pier (no license required) and a designated swim area.

Copper Breaks State Park

  777 Park Rd 62
Quanah, TX 79252

  Park Admission $3 Daily;
Kids 12 and under: Free

  tpwd.texas.gov/copperbreaks

  (940) 839-4331

Reserving passes online or by phone before visiting is recommended.

 Russell Roe   Ben Jacobi; Inset from top  Jennifer Ramos; Travis Lacoss; Dave Minton

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