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Courtesy Attilla Danko, ClearDarkSky.com

Old Town Pasadena

Downtown Monrovia

Directions to Chuckwalla Bench Observing Site

Here are the latitude and longitude for our favorite dark sky observing site, in decimal degrees, decimal minutes, and degrees/minutes/seconds:

  • N 33.6604 W 115.5406; or 33.6604 -115.5406
  • N 33° 39.625', W 115° 32.441'
  • N 33° 39' 37", W 115° 32' 26"

From our home in Monrovia, it's 157 miles. From Banning at 22nd Street, it's 84 miles. From Indio 42 miles, and from Chiriaco Summit, 11.5 miles.

Take I-10 East to Red Cloud Rd. The exit turns right with respect to the freeway, and has a large paved truck parking area. If you keep going straight from the exit, you'll see the dirt road to follow.

Reset your trip meter as you exit the freeway. You'll follow Red Cloud Rd. for exactly 2.0 miles. On the right of the road, you'll see tire ruts where there's an area to pull off, and our lone Ocotillo tree. Travel in the area is restricted to the established roads, but we always pull just off the road where there's plenty of room for cars, telescopes, and tents. The soft ground has given problems for RV's in the past, so I don't recommend it.

It's helpful to see this Google satellite view of the road so you know how it turns. If you reach the railroad tracks, you've gone just a little too far.

Jane and I have a habit of stopping in Banning, at about the half-way point. There's a Starbucks and a Subway in one building, perfect for getting coffee and sandwiches. We'll have some there, and take some to Chuckwalla for sunset dinner. The Subway/Starbucks [map of the location] is at the 22nd St. exit in Banning.

Here's a Google map link of the observatory location that can be used for route mapping.

It's best to plan to arrive about an hour before sunset to find the spot and have time to set up and enjoy a leisurely picnic dinner. Cell phone service is good and easy, being so close to I-10. Travel time from Monrovia is about three hours.

Desert Center Clear Sky Chart is the nearest clear sky clock.

Mojo's cell phone for additional guidance: 626-755-5415.

Google satellite view of Chuckwalla Bench