Tuolumne Stargazer  LbNA # 32282 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateJun 24 2007
LocationBuck Meadows, CA
Planted ByMama and the Chicks    
Found By Mountain Marty
Last Found Nov 3 2007
Hike Distance?

Drive-by: yes
Wheelchair access: yes
Supplies needed: blanket and flashlight (if searching at night)
Hand-carved stamp: yes

In the daytime this is merely a wide, dusty turnout along a mountain road. At night it transforms into a stargazer's paradise. My dad taught college astronomy for years and says it's some of the best stargazing he's ever seen. You can view almost the full bowl of the sky with no trees or light pollution.

You don't have to know anything about the stars. Just bring a blanket to lie on and enjoy the glory of the universe. If you see a cloudy stripe stretching across the sky, that is our own galaxy--the Milky Way. Slow-moving "shooting stars" are man-made satellites. Fast-moving shooting stars are shooting stars--tiny pieces of matter burning up when they hit the atmosphere.

For safety, lay your blanket well off the road, though we have seen only one car drive by at night in seven years. For privacy avoid Wednesdays after 9:30 p.m. mid-June through mid-August, because San Jose Family Camp uses the site at that time.

Coming from Yosemite or Buck Meadows on Hwy. 120, look for the Cherry Lake Road/San Jose Family Camp sign. From Buck Meadows turn left, from Yosemite turn right. After you turn, you will immediately see in front of you a large brown sign with arrows pointing right to San Jose Family Camp, Early Intake, Cherry Lake, etc. You turn LEFT (opposite direction from the arrows) and continue for 3/10 of a mile on the asphalt road. At the curve with the wide turnout, park. For safety, don't park too close to the edge (it's a steep hill.)

Across the road from the turnout, you will see a white concrete retaining wall. On the left side behind the wall near the top look for a big pile of rocks. The letterbox is underneath. Please replace very carefully as it's a big letterbox and campers from San Jose Family Camp frequently walk this road during the day.

In addition to your stamp, please sign your trail name, city and the date in our notebook.

Happy Stargazing!