Club Observing Sites
We recommend arriving before its completely dark, no later than about 1 hour after sunset, and please no bright lights. if you must use your cellphone, please dim it to the maximum. Avoid any bright white flashlights around our telescopes... you'll find if you let your eyes adjust to the ambient lighting, you can see quite well. if you must use a light, keep it aimed down at the ground in front of you.
Quail Hollow Ranch County Park is the former summer home and horse ranch of the Lane family of Sunset Magazine fame. Santa Cruz Astronomy Club helps the park out with several astronomical events a year.
The Ranch is off Quail Hollow Road, which connects between Zayante Rd and Glen Arbor Rd.
We setup in the overflow parking area, which is to the right of the road just before the white fence. please park in the regular visitors parking to the left of the road, unless you're setting up a telescope with us..
From Santa Cruz: Take Graham Hill Road towards Felton. Just past Roaring Camp, turn right on Zayante Rd. A little past Trout Farm Inn, turn left on Quail Hollow Rd, and turn right into the ranch, if you have a telescope and are arriving before dark, setup along the white picket fence in the overflow lot on the right of the road. If you are a visitor, use the main parking lot on the left, by the visitors center.
From the Bay Area: Take Highway 17 towards Santa Cruz. Take the Mt Hermon exit in Scotts Valley, follow Mt Hermon through Scotts Valley, past the quarry, all the way to the end. Turn LEFT onto Graham Hill Rd, At the next light, turn Left onto Zayante Rd, A little past Trout Farm Inn, turn left on Quail Hollow Rd, and turn right into the ranch.
After the CZU Fires, Little Basin is closed until further notice.
Little Basin Campground is the former Hewlett-Packard Family Campground, now a unit of Big Basin State Park. Its operated as a group campground by reservation only, so the star parties we present here are just for the campers, and presenting astronomers and their guests. We can stay as late as we like, the campers are usually gone to bed 2-3 hours after sunset.
While we've only observed there once as of this writing, the site shows promise for darkness, if a couple local lights can be extinguished. There are a number of tall trees that inpact the horizons, but overhead is wide open.
take highway 9 to Boulder Creek
turn west on 236 in downtown Boulder Creek
at 6.4 miles, turn left onto Little Basin Rd
follow the signs and road 1.7 miles to Little Basin Campground, as you approach the visitors center, look hard to your left, we're up on the terraced parking lot. https://goo.gl/WV3ML1
Please drive slowly and carefully on the very narrow Little Basin Rd, and arrive well before dark.
Monthly Meetings - Santa Margarita Community Room
FLASH! In 2023, our meeting location and date is changing to the Santa Margarita Community Room at the Scotts Valley Water District, 2 Civic Center Drive, Scotts Valley. This is a few miles farther than the former Harvey West site, but its a very nice meeting room with a modern smart TV A/V presentation system. Meetings are always on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 7:00pm (board meeting preceeds the general meeting at 6:30pm)
Take Highway 17 to Mt Hermon Rd, turn right on Scotts Valley Drive, turn left on Civic Center Drive (just past Malones Grill but on other side), turn right into the Scotts Valley Water Districts parking lot, drive down the hill and park near the top of the large lot behind the building, we're in the big meeting room on the lower ground level floor. There's another access to this parking lot directly on Scotts Valley Drive, but its not marked, you'll figure it out the first time you visit :)
Yosemite - Glacier Point
Every summer the Santa Cruz Astronomy Club packs up our telescopes and camping gear for a trip to Glacier Point in Yosemite National park. It's a fun weekend of observing and sharing the night sky with park visitors from all over the world.
In 2017, it was the nights of June 16th & 17th, but the event was canceled due to weather. In 2018, it was cancelled due to forest fires.
If you are interested in attending this event sponsored by the park, please check out the files listed below the map.
In the Glacier Point Star Party FAQs (Frequently Answered Questions) document below you can find:
A history of the Glacier Point Star Parties
How the club dates are assigned
Getting into the park
Bridalveil Creek Campground
The Star Party
Maps of the campground site
Map of Glacier Point parking and setup area
Volunteer Service Agreement form. Please fill out and bring to park. A ranger will collect them from us at Glacier Point.
Google Map location of Bridalveil Creek Campground: https://goo.gl/PBwLuP
Yosemite Entrance Fee Waiver (Will be posted below about a month before our assigned date)
Glacier Point is at 37.727777,-119.572937 (or, 37° 43.66' North, 119° 34.38' West), 7200' elevation. Google view of observing area: https://goo.gl/NfkhCh
Henry Cowell State Park
This site is only available after sunset when there is a scheduled star party. VIsitors are welcome, regular state park day use fees apply, please use the "iron ranger" if the kiosk is closed, or put your state park pass on the dashboard. if you aren't bringing a telescope, please park facing away from us to minimize headlightglare when you leave, thanks!
Enter via the park's main entrance on highway 9 just south of Felton. There is no access to this part of the park from Graham Hill Road other than driving to Felton, turning left at 9, and a mile or so later, left into the park.
pay day use fees at the kiosk or iron ranger, continue straight to the main parking lot.We setup in the north corner of the main parking lot ... if you are visiting, please park a little ways away from us, with your headlights pointing away so you don't blind us when you leave.