The Antelope Valley Astronomy Club has monthly star parties all over Southern California.  Here are a few of our favorite sites!

Observing Sites

35.1033 N, 118.5415 W

4500' elev.

Brite Lake is a nice recreation area in Tehachapi with fishing, boating, picnic pavillions, camp sites, RV sites and of course, dark skies!  The club has had our picnic there the last few years and have partnered with the Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District and water treatment plant to offer a chance for the public to come and look through the scopes.  In exchange, the water treatment plant turns their lights out as they are nearby. [website]

34.4140º N, 117.8589º W

4600' elev.

Devil's Punchbowl is a wonderful natural area with hiking trails, a visitor's center with live raptors and owls that are being rehabilitated on site.  The rangers run monthly full moon hikes and new moon telescope programs.  They also have special events for most meteor showers.  [website]

34.8133º N, 119.1266º W

8300' elev.

The Nordic Ski Base parking lot on Mt. Piños near Frazier Park, CA is a popular location for both visual observing and astrophotography.  At 8300 feet it has some of the darkest skies in Southern California.  Any weekend near a new moon you will find the parking lot filled with astronomers from all over.

34.8025º N, 119.0094º W

5400' elev.

The parking lot for the Chuchupate trail by the US Forrestry Dept. is a nice dark and open area.  While not as high as Mt. Piños, it is an easier place to get to and has better views to the horizons. [website]

34.2246º N, 118.0573º W

5700' elev.

While we don't set up our own scopes at Mt. Wilson, every year or so the club will trek up the mountain to use the 60" scope for the night.  Light pollution from LA is bad but every once in a while conditions can be great - and the seeing is the best around.  Plus the tour of the 100" and facilities is as good as the observing anyway! [website]

34.7317º N, 118.3945º W

2800' elev.

The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is a state natural area in the desert, west of Lancaster.  It is bothered by light pollution to the east (Lancaster) but great views all around.  The reserve offers trails and a visitor's center as well.  [website]

34.6679º N, 118.1934º W

2400' elev.

Prime desert Woodlan Preserve is a series of trails and interpretive center righ in Lancaster.  As such, the viewing is not great but every month we set up our scopes to do a little "sidewalk astronomy" while Jeremy Amarant of the SAGE Planetarium gives a guided tour of the night sky.  [website]

35.3624º N, 117.9774º W

2500' elev.

Red Cliffs is just south of the Red Rock Canyon, Ricardo campground and visitor center.  While we often do outreach at the center, Red Cliffs is a bit more private.  It is a day use area but with a special permit we can stay over night.  Red Cliffs and Red Rocks have some of the steadiest skies around.

34° 13' 50" N, 116° 45' 15" W

7250' elev.

Camp Oakes is a YMCA camp near Big Bear and long-time home of RTMC the annual Riverside telescope makers' conference. [website]

34.6779º N, 117.8246º W

2600' elev.

The group site at Saddleback Butte State Park is not the darkest place around but has good seeing and great views of the horizons.  We use it often for our Messier Marathon as it also has nice facilities and bar-b-cues! [website]

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