We all know the checklist: spacious skies, purple mountains majesties, a little piece of quiet. With millions of acres of wildlife, fresh air, and open skies beckoning, ours is an astonishingly varied land and we've never found a better way to take it all in then getting out and pitching a tent for a couple nights. We could fill a library trying to list all the various options for camping, and so instead we've pulled together a few of the most exceptional ones – whether it's the best place to see the sun rise, or dazzling stars at night, or to get in a skinny-dip in between.
Mt. Wrightson Wilderness, AZ
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Though easily accessible by road, Mount Baldy, as it's affectionately referred to thanks to its tree-free summit, is high enough, dry enough, and far enough away from civilization to offer breathtaking views of the heavens. While fully developed Forest Service campgrounds are available from 3,000 up to 9,000 feet year round, the best spot is a modest 4.5-mile hike to the summit to sleep under the stars and share the sky with the scientists at Whipple Observatory, host of Smithsonian astronomers, situated on nearby Mount Hopkins.