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West Side Pinnacles Public Stargazing with Telescopes

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  • Pinnacles National Park - West Entrance

    Highway 146, Soledad, CA (map)

    36.425941 -121.311401

  • San Jose Astronomical Association (SJAA) and the Pinnacles National Park are proud to joint sponsors for a Stargazing with Telescopes event to be held at the West Entrance Visitors Center.

    Spend the day at America's newest National Park, where the possibilities for discovery are limitless! Climbing and hiking among the breathtaking spires and rock formations that gave Pinnacles its name is only the beginning of what the park has to offer. Come seek out the California Condor in the high peaks, explore the rare chaparral vegetation and carpets of wildflowers, and picnic at the visitor center.

    When it begins to get dark, come look at the night sky from this truly dark site. You will also be able to view objects such as the Great Orion Nebula, Rosette Nebula, The Pleiades star cluster and the triple star Beta Monocerotis and many others using the telescopes that the SJAA/Pinnacles Docents will provide. It's a truly amazing experience that you will not soon forget!

    All are welcome to attend! If you own binoculars, please bring them, but leave all telescopes behind as the site can only handle a limited number of scopes in which the spaces are already filled by the SJAA/Pinnacles Docents who are hosting the star party.

    As the weather is always changing, please check back here on the day of the event for more info in case bad weather causes us to cancel the event.

    The Pinnacles National Park fee is $15 per car good for 7 days. A Pinnacles National Annual Pass is available West Pinnacles Visitor for $25. The Visitor Station closes at 4:30pm and the main gates close at 8pm. If you arrive after 4:30pm please pay the $15 fee per car to the Iron Ranger located at the parking lot.

    Please arrive no later then 6:45pm Note: There is no camping on the West Side of the Pinnacles. The East Side of the Pinnacles has campgrounds if you desire to camp.

    The GPS coordinates are N[masked] W [masked] 

    Special Driving Directions:  Take 101 South to Soledad take exit 303 and go straight onto Front Street drive into Soledad Take a left onto East Street (Highway 146) Make a right on Metz Road (Highway 146). Make left on Shirtail Cyn Road (Highway 146) Stay on 146 as it will take you to the Visitors Center. 

    Other notes that will be helpful for more enjoyment from the event

    1. Give yourself extra time to get down there. The site is 95 miles from SJAA's home base of Houge Park. It takes about 2 hours travel time with average traffic.

    2. The weekends can have more traffic through the Gilroy to Salinas part of the trip.

    3. There are restaurants in Soledad which is about 8 miles from the site that you can have lunch or dinner from before coming up the hill to the site.

    4. The site is at a elevation of 2000 feet which help to give clear views of the night skies. The horizons are low so you can see all around with no big obstructions

    5. There are clean flushible toilets at the site.

    6. The West Side Pinnacles has nice views and hiking you can explore and do during the daytime

    7. It can get cool in the evenings so bring extra layers to keep you warm just in case



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