Ponder the Galaxy

For stellar stargazing beginning in May, cruise up to Mount Pinos next to Kern County’s Frazier Park, where light pollution is next to nil.

11:00 a.m.
It’s going to be a late night, so savor a midmorning start to the nearly two-hour drive.

12:15 p.m.
Stop for lunch in downtown Frazier Park. The pizza joint Caveman Cavey’s is a local favorite. Pick up a $5 recreation pass for your vehicle (required for parking at the stargazing site) from Don’s Liquor Mart.

2:45 p.m.
Head to the Chula Vista Campground and begin the nearly five-mile round-trip hike to the summit of Mount Pinos—the highest point in Ventura County.

5:45 p.m.
The galactic action goes down in the campground parking lot. Be back at your ride before sunset to set up a telescope—or score some prime real estate in a nearby meadow.

Sundown
Enjoy the show. When you’re ready to leave, keep your headlights off until you exit the lot as a courtesy to fellow stargazers.

—JOHN HALLMANN