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What we do International Dark Sky Places

Massacre Rim Wilderness Study Area

Reflection of stars in Badger Creek. Photo credit, Richie Bednarski.


Nestled between the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area (BRNCA) and the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR), the Massacre Rim Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is not only one of the darkest places in Nevada but also the contiguous United States. Its sheer remoteness offers protection from human populations and the associated light pollution: the two largest urban areas to Masscare Rim are located 150 miles to the south (Reno, Nevada) and 163 miles to the west (Redding, California).

The nearest communities to Massacre Rim include about two dozen ranches and homes in Long Valley, primarily centered around the ghost town of Vya, Nevada and four ranching communities in Surprise Valley, California, about 30 miles to the west. With a population of just over 800, this area provides little to no impact on the night sky and gives Massacre Rim visitors a chance to experience a truly dark sky.




International Dark Sky Sanctuary


Washoe County
Nevada, USA
Google Maps


Nora Richter
Tel.: 775-324-7667

Land Area

409.9 km2


Press Release
Annual Reports