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    DEnc's Avatar
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    Default AP sites in Southern CA at higher elevation?

    Now that the heat is settling over the southern CA deserts I’m searching for dark skies at higher elevations for astrophotography. Any advice would be much appreciated!

    I camp for 2-4 days, and remote camping without facilities is fine—preferred in fact. Solitude is a plus. So places like Palomar Mtn. are low on my list. I know of a few candidate sites from hiking, rather than my new AP hobby, and I have many memories of the mtns creating their own localized cloudy weather. Would anyone care to weigh in on my candidates, or suggest some others?

    1. Mid Hills of Mojave has very nice dark skies, but I’ve seen local cloudiness frequently. Is there a time of year when this is less frequent?
    2. White Mtns—are these also unpredictable, weather-wise?
    3. Last Chance Mtns north of Death Valley, north of the sulfur mine. I have high hopes for this area!
    4. Mahogany Flat in Death Valley—beautiful area, but lots of trees. Any unobstructed sites in the vicinity? Predictable weather?


    Many thanks!


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    Default Re: AP sites in Southern CA at higher elevation?

    Hi David,

    I've camped at Mahogany flat - it was very dark, but I did notice the light dome of Las Vegas, so you may want to keep that in mind.
    I've also camped at the Eureka Dunes in the north part of Death Valley and had absolutely superb skies - no light dome from Las Vegas, zero trees and only 4 campsites there so there aren't too many folks, very primitive sites though and you have to carry your own water out there. Sounds like this isn't a problem for you though.

    I've also camped at Mt. Pinos off of I-5. Enjoyed some very dark skies there, too. Elevation is around 6500 feet at the campground.
    I've been to the White Mtns on a day trip to see the Bristlecone pines and noted the location for a future astro-excursion. Should be a great site from which to image and/or observe.

    Anyway, there's a couple of ideas for you.
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