Stargazing in Lake Tahoe

Daniel's Top 3 California 'Must Sees' 

#2: Stargazing in Lake Tahoe

One of our favorite past-times is stargazing. When we first started dating, we would spend hours stargazing in Amanda’s backyard. We’ve even downloaded stargazing apps and taken astronomy classes! So when we decided to take the long drive into the forest surrounding Lake Tahoe and stargaze from a field at the side of a barely-frequented road, it was quite the treat. Especially because the stars were more vibrant than any I have ever seen. We saw many shooting stars, the Milky Way and even a few satellites. Before we took the trip, a local told us that, in Lake Tahoe, they see shooting stars every night. And I believe it! We didn’t even have to get out and lay down before we saw one; just during the drive, when the sky was visible between the trees, we counted multiple.

We’re no stargazing amateurs. We have stargazed from the sandy beaches of Acadia National Park, and in the front yard of our rented cabin in the-middle-of-nowhere, Vermont—both awesome locations with clear skies—but Lake Tahoe beats them both by far. The night sky was so bright and the stars were so twinkly, it looked like you could reach out and grab them.

2011BOTOutdoorsStarGazing
2011BOTOutdoorsStarGazing

Logistics:

  • We drove down Luther Pass Road/Route 89 and stopped at multiple clearings along the way. We almost couldn’t go wrong: there was plenty of room to pull off, and a lot of fields to sit in.
  • Bring a blanket—or a couple of blankets—and dress warmly. In September, after the sun dropped, we were quite chilly. The weekend after we left, it was snowing, so it's just a cold atmosphere in general.
  • If you want specific stargazing locations, you can look at this article: http://tahoequarterly.com/2011/05/lake-tahoes-best-places-to-stargaze/ We used this as a reference, and then drove in the general direction of most of these locations. 
  • If you do decide to be adventurous and avoid other stargazers by driving down a random road like we did, use a GPS that is not internet-dependent, or load your smart phone’s GPS before you go. Because you will lose signal!