Tips for Stargazing in the Eastern Sierra

Oct 20, 2020

No matter if you are a hobby astronomer, a first-time stargazer, or just planning a quiet getaway to the Eastern Sierra, you’ll love the stars in the sky.

When to Go Stargazing in Mammoth Lakes

While there is little light pollution in the Eastern Sierra, the darkest sky is during the new moon phase. The full moon is equally as spectacular in the Eastern Sierra, but the bright light outshines even the brightest of the stars.

Upcoming New Moon Dates




January 5

January 24

January 13

February 4

February 23

February 11

March 6

March 24

March 13

April 5

April 22

April 11

May 4

May 22

May 11

June 3

June 20

June 10

July 2

July 20

July 9

July 31

August 18

August 8

August 30

September 17

September 6

September 28

October 16

October 6

October 27

November 14

November 4

November 26

December 14

December 4

December 25




Tips for Stargazing in Mammoth Lakes

Pick the Right Spot

The best star viewing is in an area with no obstruction from buildings or trees. Even steep canyons or valleys limit the amount of night sky you will see. Find an open meadow, or a mountain pass for your stargazing destination. Minaret Vista is a local favorite for stargazing in Mammoth Lakes.

Don’t Have a Campfire

Whether you are camping or just stargazing, save the campfire for another night. The ambient heat from your campfire will keep you warm, but the glow of the fire will diminish the brightness of the stars.

What to Wear and Bring

Nights in the Eastern Sierra, even in the summer nights, can be cold. Dress warmly and bring extra layers, including a warm jacket, beanie and gloves. A headlamp or flashlight is also helpful, since you’ll be seeking out some of the darker areas to stargaze. Bring a chair for lounging or a blanket to throw on the ground. A sleeping bag is also a good addition for the colder nights.

Identify Stars and Constellations

Most of us can find the Milky Way and the Big Dipper, but if you want to identify the less familiar stars and constellations bring an astronomy guidebook or star chart along. Or use your smartphone. With a number of free apps, understanding the night sky has never been easier.

Monica Prelle

Monica Prelle is an outdoors, wine, and travel writer who would rather be running, climbing, or mountain biking. See more of Monica's posts here, read more of her work at and connect on twitter @monicaprelle

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