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Printable Directions to the Fremont Peak Observatory

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Introduction

This is a more brief set of directions that may be more printable due to having fewer pictures. Before printing these directions, you should review the main directions to catch the pictorial details not found on this page.

Where is Fremont Peak?

Some people who live in the San Jose / San Francisco Bay Area might think that Fremont Peak is near the town of Fremont California. It isn't. Fremont Peak State Park is near the town of San Juan Bautista, south west of Hollister and south of Gilroy:

Large Scale map

Driving to the Fremont Peak State Park

SUGGESTION: If you have never been to the Fremont Peak State Park, we recommend drive there in the daytime. It is a lot easier to find the Park and Observatory during daylight.

NOTE: From San Jose, it takes about 90 minutes (depending on your speed and driving habits) to drive to Fremont Peak State Park. To be safe, plan on leaving San Jose 2 hours before Sunset.

From the San Francisco Bay Area, head South on 101 past Gilroy and turn East on 156.
From Monterey and parts south, head North on 101 and turn East on 156:

Medium Scale map

Once you are heading East on 156 go about 3 miles, look for the Fremont Peak State Park Sign:

Go to the traffic light and turn Right on The Alamedia:

Once you are on The Alamedia go about 0.4 miles to San Juan Canyon Rd.

NOTE: This 0.4 mile section is a little tricky. However, if you pay attention you won't get lost. Lets look at this part of the road in more detail. Here is a diagram of this 0.4 mile road section:


   ||
   ||
 Highway     San Juan Bautista
   101              ^
   ||               |
   ||               |
   ++<== 3 miles ==>+==== 156 East ======== ...
  //       ^        |
 //        |        |
//         |        |
           |   The Alameda
           |        |
           |        |
       0.4 miles    +----- San Juan Hollister Rd ----- ...
           |        |
           |        |
           |   The Alameda
           |        |
           |        |
           V        -+---- Mission Vineyard ---- ...
                   /  \.
                  |    \.
                  |  San Juan Canyon Rd
                  |     |
                  |     |
                  |     |
                        |
                        |
                        V
                    To Fremont Peak

As you drive down The Alamedia road, you will go past San Juan Hollister Rd (going off to your left). Continue down The Alamedia:

Next you will approach an intersection of:

  • The Alamedia (which we have been traveling on)
  • Mission Vineyard (which is a 90 degree left hand turn)
  • San Juan Canyon Rd (which is is a ``dog leg'' quasi-left hand turn)

Make a dog leg quasi-left hand turn on San Juan Canyon Rd.
DO NOT turn full left on Mission Vineyard!!!

You know that you are on the San Juan Canyon Rd if you see both a  NOT A THROUGH ROAD  and a  Fremont Peak State Park 11 MILES  sign within few feet from the intersection:

Tic Intersection #2 Tricky Intersection #3

You will travel along San Juan Canyon Rd for 11 miles. Continue to drive with caution.

Driving within Fremont Peak State Park

As you approach the park you will pass a  15 MPH  sign,  FEE AREA  sign and a  Fremont Peak State Park  sign.

About 0.3 miles beyond the  Fremont Peak State Park  sign you will pass a gated road going off to the left. This is the road to the observatory that you will walk up. Do not drive up the observatory road, instead continue driving on the road you are on:

Park Map

Continue another 0.1 miles to the parking lot next to the camp ground.

The parking lot has a some signs, a pay station and a telephone. Please park here.

Parking lot Parking lot #2
walking to FPO #3 walking to FPO #4

As you walk around the gate and up the hill you will enter The Dark Zone:

PLEASE NOTE: At night, people are often are taking astronomical photos and digital images in this area. It will get very dark after sunset. The smallest amount of light from a flashlight can spoil hours of work. It can take as much as a hour for someone's eyes to recover from being flashed with a bright light. PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH FLASHLIGHTS WALKING UP THE OBSERVATORY ROAD!
We recommend that you walk to the observatory during the daylight. If it is dark, you might consider staying at the parking lot and allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness before walking up the road. Better still, use a red flashlight or cover your flashlight with several layers of heavy red paper.
Above all be safe and walk carefully, but also try to be careful of the darkness. :-)

As you walk up a short road you will reach a flat area that contains the Ranger's house and workshop. This is the start of the The Dark Zone:

walking to FPO #5 walking to FPO #6

At the end of the flat area you again walk up a short hill. Just before the hill on the left, you will pass the workshop and a then finally a small building. That building is the two sided rest-room / toilet / WC.

Walk up the short hill to the Fremont Peak Observatory:

walking to FPO #11 walking to FPO #12

Walk around to the back of the observatory and enter. Enjoy your visit!



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