Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz, Calif., provides the perfect spot for a spectacular sunset.
ANTELOPE ISLAND STATE PARK
Great Salt Lake, Utah. "Reds, salmons, yellows no two sunsets here are the same," says Richard Mabey of Roy, Utah. "I've heard that the brilliant colors are caused by dust and salt particles in the air from the desert and salt flats to the west." (801) 773-2941, utah.com/stateparks/antelope_island.htm.
Astoria, Ore. "At 720 feet above sea level, the platform near the top of this historic column has a wide view of the Columbia River mouth," says Don Hillgaertner of Astoria. "If you're lucky, the setting sun will frame an incoming or outgoing ship." (503) 325-2963, astoriacolumn.org.
Medicine Bow National Forest, near Encampment, Wyo. "Spectacular!" says Sue Webb of Casper, Wyo. "The views are beautiful from this spot at almost 10,000 feet on the Continental Divide. Watch for wildlife, too." (307) 326-5258, www.fs.fed.us/r2/mbr/about/districts/brush.shtml.
CAPE BLANCO STATE PARK
Port Orford, Ore. "Awesome!" says Phyllis Landsem of Portland. "We sit in the large grassy area high above the ocean and occasionally see whales spouting." (541) 332-6774, oregonstateparks.org/park_62.php.
CESAR CHAVEZ PARK
Berkeley, Calif. "The vista from near the city's marina encompasses the San Francisco skyline, the Bay Bridge, Angel Island, and the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge," writes Lila Skye of Berkeley. "You can take a hike while watching the sunset or cuddle with your sweetie in the car." (510) 981-6740, ci.berkeley.ca.us/contentdisplay.aspx?id=12102.
CLAM BEACH COUNTY PARK
McKinleyville, Calif. "There are miles of beach to share with someone special as you breathe the ocean air and savor the changing colors," says Donna Curley Nevraumont of Davis, Calif. "Catch the sun sinking into the whitecaps and your worries diminish." (707) 445-7651, co.humboldt.ca.us/portal/living/county_parks.
ECOLA STATE PARK
Cannon Beach, Ore. "I've sat for nearly an hour on a hillside in this coastal park and watched the sky blaze with color," writes Bonnie Jacquemin of Hillsboro, Ore. "The ocean vistas here are truly spectacular." (503) 436-2844, oregonstateparks.org/park_188.php.
FINLEY POINT STATE PARK
Flathead Lake, near Polson, Mont. "The campground on the lake's east shore is an especially nice place to watch the show," says Gregg Bauer of Missoula, Mont. (406) 887-2715, fwp.mt.gov/parks/visit.
Glacier National Park, Mont. "The word awesome does not begin to describe the alpenglow at sunset on the magnificent peaks east of the boat ramp at Apgar Village," says Betsy Wood of Kalispell, Mont. "The mountains turn baby pink, dark pink, then bluish pink as the light fades." (406) 888-7800, nps.gov/glac.
Santa Cruz, Calif. "No freeways, buildings, or mountains obscure the view from the cliffs near the city's Surfing Museum," says Tania Garber of Santa Cruz. "As the sky and Monterey Bay morph from one beautiful color to another, it's like watching a movie in its entirety." (831) 420-6289, cityofsantacruz.com/index.aspx?page=582.
Whidbey Island, Wash. "Beautiful long sunsets," says Bonnie Meznarich of Cut Bank, Mont. "On a good clear day you can see across Puget Sound to the Olympic Peninsula." (888) 747-7777, visitwhidbey.com/campgrounds/Maxwelton-Beach.html.
MOUNT ROSE HIGHWAY
Incline Village, Nev. "On Highway 431 you'll come to a turnout that offers a panoramic view of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains," says Don Kanare of Incline Village. "There's a word for this color-rich view: spectacular." (800) 468-2463, byways.org/explore/byways/2034.
West Sacramento. "There's nothing better than kicking back, cold beer in one hand, popcorn in the other, while watching a River Cats ball game at sunset," says Kris Lannin Liang of Sacramento. "The green field, the blue sky, and against them, oranges, yellows, and purples." (916) 376-4676, raleyfield.com.
Crooked River National Grassland, Madras, Ore. "Drive up a narrow paved road to the turnaround and watch the sun set over Mount Jefferson and Lake Billy Chinook," says Maralee Gerke of Madras, Ore. "Sit and look with awe as the reds, purples, salmons, and oranges flame out over the Cascades." (541) 475-9272, www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon/wildlife/sites/list.shtml.
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Elko, Nev. "At a cabin in this range, I looked out on the most beautiful alpenglow I've ever seen," says Kim Pryor of Gardnerville, Nev. "The setting sun had turned the granite mountainsides the color of merlot." (775) 752-3357, rubymountains.net.
Photography by Frank Balthus
This article was first published in July 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.