Sacramento itself has a little too much light pollution for star gazing, but amateur astronomer can find dark skies at the BLM Cronan Ranch parking lot, the Ice House Observation Plateau and more.
BLM Cronan Ranch Parking Lot
Pedro Hill Road
Off Highway 49 between Cool and Pilot Hill
El Dorado County, CA
Cronan Ranch is known for its 12 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding along nestled next to the American River near between Cool and Pilot Hill off Highway 49 in El Dorado Hills, but it’s the parking lot that The Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society uses most. The remote ranch is far enough away from the glaring lights of the big city to offer some great views for watching meteor showers and more.
Ice House Observation Plateau Observing Sites (known as IHOP)
Ice House Road
Near Pollock Pines
If you hear Sacramento astronomers talking about going to IHOP, they don’t have pancakes on the brain. IHOP is also the acronym for Ice House Observation Plateau. Just hop on Highway 50 up to Pollock Pines to this “dark sky” location to fulfill your astronomical needs. The Astronomy Connection of Sacramento says there are actually two sites at this location known as IHOP1 and IHOP2.
Sacramento City College Observatory
3835 Freeport Blvd.
Astronomy Coordinator – Liam McDaid
If driving for miles and sitting out in the cold isn’t your idea of fun, there is an indoor star gazing option. The Sacramento City College Observatory is open to the public on the first Friday of each month from September to May (except in January). And if the weather is bad, they even have make-up dates. And we bet their telescope is bigger than yours!