The key to being able to see a great meteor show is to find some place that is pretty dark. All the ambient light from the inner city and suburbs make it more difficult to see this streakingly blazing show. You’ll have to find a spot away from the city lights. Here are some suggestions.
Mather Regional Park
Zinfandel Drive
Mather, CA 95665
(916) 875-6961

There are 1600 acres of land in this park. In another time, it was a very large U.S. Airforce base. It now has a lot of open space and, best of all for viewing meteors, not much in the way of ambient light. Take some snacks with you. Bundle up, as December can be cold out there. Relax, look up and enjoy the show.

Beals Point
7806 Folsom Auburn Road
Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 988-0205

Beals Point and the area around it is relatively wide open. Folsom Lake forms a long border at Beals. While there is some light from the city wafting about, it’s dark enough that seeing the meteors flashing through the night sky is a good bet. Pay attention to the park hours. You may have to park just outside the park boundaries after dark, but it’s all the same when you look up. Bundle up, as it can be chilly in winter at the lake.

Sly Park Lake
4771 Sly Park Road
Pollock Pines, CA 95726
(530) 295-6824

Head up to Pollock Pines and out to Sly Park Lake. You have to pay attention to the park hours here too. Fear not, as there are plenty of places to park on Iron Mountain Road/Mormon Emigrant Trail by the lake’s dams. You will get a wide open view from either in the park or by parking off the road by the two dams. To the northeast, the view is of the Crystal Basin Range, with Pyramid Peak quite noticeable. You are up 3,560 feet and will need to dress warmly. At this time of year, there may be snow on the ground, which makes it all that much more fun to watch the meteor shower.

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Strawberry Lodge
17510 U.S. Highway 50
Kyburz, CA 95720
(530) 659-7200

Strawberry Lodge is a historic hotel, packed with the history of the area. It also is a wonderful place to book a room and take your time watching the meteor shower. Head out back and listen to the American River as you look up. Lovers Leap is a short walk away and offers good views. The area around the lodge is open to the skies. Enjoy the beauty of the meteor show, then come in out of the cold and warm yourself by the fire in the lodge. December can mean snow in the mountains, so dress warmly, and be prepared for the cold and snow and the meteors.

Nevada City
Chamber of Commerce
132 Main St.
Nevada City, CA 95959
(530) 265-2692

Nevada City is just over an hour away. In and around the city are many places to set up, relax and look to the skies for meteors. Go early, have a great meal at one of the town’s scrumptious eateries and enjoy walking through the town. As dark descends, find your spot, break out the blankets and enjoy a very nice December show. Bundle up, as it gets chilly in the foothills in December.

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Charles Ferris is a freelance writer who has lived in the Sierra, halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, for the last 41 years. In 2010 he retired from teaching after 36 years . He and his wife hike, kayak, cross country ski, snow shoe, ride mountain bikes and road bikes, year round. His work can be found at