Sycamore's Star Parties
Sycamore Canyon Sunset Hike and Stargazing
Sunset hikes are beautiful, but they shine naturally brighter when paired with stargazing afterwards. Make it happen in Sycamore Canyon, which hosts a Star Party every other month on the third Friday. The next one is August 21. Nestled between the rush of San Diego's Interstate 15 and CA-67, Sycamore Canyon has 2,272 acres of manzanita and oak forest and 10 miles of twisting trails. Start your hike at the staging area of Sycamore Canyon's Goodan Ranch, and follow Martha's Grove Trail for a 3-mile loop. You'll travel from the dry chaparral of manzanita and agave to the sun-sheltering oaks and sycamores of the canyon floor. The mostly flat trail is unencumbered by the typical rocky pathways of the region, making this a leisurely jaunt—and one perfect for viewing sunset, thanks to the trail's ridge-hugging route. Watch the open skies change color as the sun sets to the west for the latter part of your hike. Hills and ridges bring extra depth to the oranges and pinks of the sky. After sunset, catch this summer's special star viewing (August 21), where you'll have the chance to peer through research-grade telescopes and see a clean, clear sky, thanks to a lack of development in the surrounding area.
BONUS CAMPING: Once you've had your fill of stars, head 30 minutes northeast and camp at Dos Picos County Park, where 68 sites come at a good price ($29) for camping near San Diego.
Here's a map to the park. Sycamore Canyon is dog-friendly but not recommended during summer due to rattlesnakes. Dos Picos County Park is dog-friendly!
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