• Conductors' Collective

The Conductors' Collective and the darkest skies in the country

Boulder, Utah, the home of the Conductors' Collective at Escalante, sits under some of the darkest skies in the country and world.

Capitol Reef National Park, the southern reaches of which are just 45 minutes east down the Burr Trail from Boulder, boasts a designation as a Gold-tier International Dark Sky Park from the International Dark Sky Association. The stretch of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument between Boulder and the Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef is one of the darkest spots in the country, and hosts equally magnificent skies that are generally free of clouds on summer nights.

A map of the Burr Trail Road from Boulder to the southern reaches of Capitol Reef, one of the darkest places on Earth.

A dark sky map showing locations with (and without) light pollution.

Our program director, Steven Knell, grew up just hours north of these dark skies. He recently took a night drive from Boulder to the east to the Waterpocket Fold, and parked by the side of the road to observe the sky, writing in his journal:

"I have never been witness to such a sky. You can only tell where the earth ends and the sky begins by the presence or absence of these billions of stars. After turning off any light from my car or electronics, and allowing my eyes to adjust to the complete darkness around me, I could clearly observe the bands of the Milky Way cascading from the center of the immense dome of stars above. Spectacular. It was difficult to break myself away and complete my journey."

Being hours from the nearest city allows our participants, resident musicians, faculty, and guests to observe this sky each night, a magnificent complement to the spectacular high desert surroundings illuminated during the day. To more fully immerse ourselves in this majesty, we'll drive about 20 minutes east of the Lodge for an evening campfire dinner on the Burr Trail, followed by time to surround ourselves only in silence, darkness, our thoughts, and our camaraderie.

Art flourishes in artists because of our capacity to wonder and imagine. Surroundings such as these are the fertile ground upon which artistry grows.

Join us under these skies in 2020.




  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White YouTube Icon