Ride straight into the heavens with The Star Train.
If there’s one thing we can be thankful for this year, it’s the dazzling shows the skies have put on for us. From the NEOWISE comet beaming through the sky to five planets and a cluster of stars all hanging out together at once. There’s never been a better time to look up. Meanwhile, those living out in the Great Basin are treated to twinkling heavens every night of the year, without a veil of smog or city lights dimming it out. If you’re not one of those lucky few, you can still hop aboard the Great Basin Star Train and take an unforgettable ride into deep black skies to gaze at the stars.
the Nevada Northern Railway pulls out of Ely on summer evenings around sunset, so you’ll get to watch the sun illuminate the rural Inter-Mountain West before sinking down into the Steptoe Valley.
The train, pulled by a vintage locomotive that will journey far away from any town. Your one and only stop will be an area with the darkest skies in the 48 lower states. Meaning, the whole Milky Way will be absolutely glittering.
Onboard, you’ll have the Great Basin National Park’s famous astronomy-certified “Dark Rangers” to guide your voyage through the constellation. They take their stargazing seriously, so once you step off the train you’ll have telescopes and an in-depth guide through whatever the skies offer that evening. Once you arrive back in Ely, you could spend a night in the East Ely Yard, either in the caboose or the bunkhouse.
The trains are up and running with a limited capacity to allow for a safe and socially-distanced journey. There’ll be snacks, beverages and restrooms onboard too. Trains are also cleaned between each journey.
Rides tend to sell out a year in advance so you might as well plan ahead for an unforgettable ride into the galaxies (or as close as you can get). This train operates from May to September each year and departs only on select Fridays and Saturdays. There are some cancellations which make some tickets available every now and again, so keep your eyes on the page.
You can check for available tickets and more information online here.