Pink sunsets, yellow moons, shooting stars, and green meadows. We’re not talking about the magically delicious breakfast cereal. Rather, we’re talking about the sights above our heads after the sun dips below the horizon. With warm, fun-packed days followed by cool, comfortable evenings, summer stargazing in the High Sierra is a treat everyone should set aside time for.
Perseid Meteor Shower
As the Earth passes through the path of the Comet Swift-Tuttle around July 23rd – August 20th, something magical occurs. The dust left behind creates the annual Perseid meteor shower. Arguably one of the most popular meteor showers of the year, you can catch a glimpse of this cool natural phenomenon at either the New Melones annual stargazing viewing (telescopes provided) or among giant sequoias at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Calaveras Big Trees will be holding astronomy nights on August 8th beginning at 7:30 p.m. & August 29th beginning at 8 p.m.
Every summer the Yosemite Conservancy holds a few “Dine & Discover” showcases where a naturalist guides you on an easy hike to an iconic viewpoint off of Glacier Point Road. As you admire the Yosemite backdrop alongside an al fresco meal, a Naturalist guide will indulge you with information about the area’s natural and human history. To top the evening off, you’ll take advantage of one of the best stargazing settings in the park. Or if you’re up to a bit more work, check out their overnight backpacking adventure on July 27th.
Observe The Night Sky With The Oldest Living Things On Earth
We’re going to let you in on a secret… the backdrop when enjoying a night sky is as important as minimal artificial light. Surround yourself by the oldest living things on Earth. And then look up at a sky filled with stars that are even older than them! The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains is open through October and provides a great vantage point to take it all in. If you do miss the window to see these giants, don’t worry! The skies are nearly as magnificent at Alabama Hills near Mobius Arch.
Experts say that 80% of Americans & one-third of all humanity can no longer see the Milky Way due to light pollution. Fortunately, stargazing in the High Sierra gives you clear skies and an opportunity to see this and much more. After all, there’s a whole universe out there, so don’t miss your chance when visiting!