Hearts Content Campground Star Gazing

The weather was near perfect for star gazing this Tuesday evening and it happened to be sister Debbie’s birthday! She was off work and up for the trekĀ  north to Warren, PA. We decided on Hearts Content camping area in the Allegheny National Forest.

The drive is not as far as Cherry Springs and we had both been to Potter County last month so the decision was easy. Although not quite as dark as Cherry Springs Park, it’s still real good and some of the side roads are more interesting. (Both areas are Bortle class 3’s.) We came via Knox and Shippenville, stopping to take a few pictures of this beautiful church in Fryburg. It was a little dark for photos but still worth posting for those who haven’t seen this landmark.

Saint Michaels Catholic Church Fryburg, PA

Front view from across the street of St Michael’s Catholic church in Fryburg, PA.

Historic Catholic Church in Fryburg, PA

Saint Michael’s Church from the side.

Our last trip to this area we drove through the forest but tonight we stayed on side roads around it, stopping off quite often for different views. The Milky Way was fantastic this evening and the stars were plentiful. The were glistening blue! The evening temperature was perfectly warm with a slight breeze.

Although not in full swing yet, the Perseid’s meteor shower was happening and we enjoyed plenty of falling stars, likely 15 or so. Who’s counting! I did manage to capture one interesting photo that night. While the meteor and background is nothing spectacular, the capturing of a double shooter is pretty impressive! Side by side they fell in what seems perfect alignment. Check it out!

Double shooting stars near Allegheny National Forest

A double shooter! Two falling stars side by side captured near Hearts Content Campground, Warren PA.

(Be sure to check out my really cool shooting star photo I captured near Cherry Springs a few days later!)

Unlike our last star-quest where the rising moon cut us short, this time it was a new moon and it set hours before we even arrived there. It was a very dark night and the humidity was low for August, thus making for a clean, clear atmosphere.

Milky Way and trees in North Western PA

I never get sick of viewing the Milky Way in a dark sky area like Warren, PA.

I like this destination and it is 1-1/2 hours closer than Cherry Springs for me. I like the many back roads and tree lines that offer different views. Going on a Tuesday (or any weekday) also means little or few other people. We didn’t see anyone that night, not even a passing car!

We stayed until 2am then headed home. There were no bear, no elk, no fox and not even a porcupine to be seen. Just a few deer. We had no trouble hearing the night creatures though! Crickets and tree frogs filled the night a pitch above the whispering wind and rustling leaves. I love summertime in Western Pennsylvania!

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2 comments on “Hearts Content Campground Star Gazing
  1. orin fisher says:

    Hi Ray – I was doing a google search on Hearts content area and stumbled onto your website. I don’t know what a Sony RX100 is but the pictures were great. You seem to be a bit knowledgeable about the night sky. I learned a few things like the Bortle scale, interesting. I also saw that you did a show at Succop conservancy that’s right by my house. I enjoyed reading about Cherry springs and Hearts content and all those remote beautiful forested areas. Need to put forth more effort in spending time up there.

    • Ray Sherman says:

      Thanks for visiting my site and commenting. I relish the evenings I can spend under a night sky in a dark area like Cherry Springs or Hearts Content. I’m not really into astronomy at all. I just enjoy the silence and darkness with the stars. It’s worth the trip if you’ve never seen a true dark sky. It’s very important to know the conditions before making the trip. It’s 3.5 hours from Butler. I use this website:


      The transparency reading must be “above average” before I’ll make the trip. While average can be quite beautiful for someone who’s never seen a true dark sky, it will not show the milky way at it’s best. Just as important is to check the moon phase. Make sure it’s not going to be out between 10pm-daybreak or it will wash out the milky way and many stars.

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