Spectacular Geminids Meteor Shower Will Light Up the Northern California Sky this Week

Northern Californians are in for a celestial treat as the Geminids meteor shower reaches its peak on the night of December 13 and into the early hours of December 14. Renowned as one of the year’s most magnificent and predictable meteor showers, the Geminids are expected to dazzle with up to 120 meteors per hour.

This meteor shower serves as a brilliant finale to a year of celestial displays, following the August Perseids, October’s Orionids, and November’s Lyrids.

How and When to Observe the Geminids

To witness the Geminids in all their glory, plan a late-night excursion to a location far removed from the glow of city lights. Bundle up warmly and bring a comfortable seating option to ensure a relaxed viewing experience and allocate at least 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.

Around midnight, the meteor shower’s radiant point, within the Gemini constellation, will be high in the eastern sky, nearly overhead. Relax and take in the entire expanse of the night sky, as Geminid meteors can appear from any direction at any moment. Each fiery streak of light is a spectacle and there will be plenty to see.

Geminid meteors are renowned for their brightness, speed, and often yellow hue. This year, a moonless night enhances viewing conditions, with the moon in its new phase, ensuring an uninterrupted meteor show.

Where to See the Metor Shower

There are so many places to watch this celestial event in Northern California. Here are our favorites:

Lake Tahoe

If you can find a place around the lake to escape the city lights, there’s nothing like experiencing a starry night sky over Lake Tahoe. Maybe the best place to find the best night sky is the Desolation Wilderness, but anywhere in the higher altitudes above the lake will give you great views.

Mount Shasta

There are SO MANY places to see the meteor shower above Mount Shasta. As you ascend into the higher elevations, the meteors will certainly feel much bigger and brighter than in the valley. If you head up to Bunny Flats you should be able to see the stars bigger and brighter than anywhere in NorCal.

You’ll have a great view if you sit on the beach of Siskiyou Lake, watching the shower as it shoots above Mount Shasta with a reflection on the lake. To be quite honest, anywhere near Mount Shasta City seems like a winner in this scenario.

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

We’ve documented the wonderful adventure of kayaking on Whiskeytown Lake during the full moon, and this occasion might prove to be an even better experience for a night on the water. You can always get on a boat (if you have access to one), grab a kayak or go to Brandy Creek. Another option would be to hike up to the top of Shasta Bally to have an overhead view of the meteor shower over the lake. So many options here…

Yosemite National Park

Although Yosemite can become packed with visitors during the summer, there is plenty of room to enjoy a night sky. The park still stays far away from city lights and can give you one heck of a show during the meteor shower.

Burney Falls

Take NorCal’s most beautiful landmark (and The Eighth Wonder of the World) and put a a meteor shower above it – enough said. Watch it from the rocks below the majestic waterfall or get an overhead view from the trailhead above. Either way this opportunity is too great to pass up.

The Eighth Wonder of the World Sits Right Here in Northern California

Lava Beds National Monument

Sitting in the tippy-top of Northern California in Siskiyou County is one of the most beautiful, historical parks in all of California. Combining geology with history and just good old fashioned outdoor beauty, the Lava Beds National Monument is one of NorCal’s most fascinating and underrated outdoor destinations.

With the park being so rural in the upper portion of NorCal, it rarely sees any man-made light, making it one of the best places on the west coast for stargazing. The park’s clean, dry air miles-and-miles away from urban pollution has to be seen to believe. In fact, the park is known as a dark-sky preserve, which means the area naturally restricts artificial light pollution.

Learn more about the beautiful night sky in the Lava Beds National Monument

Where do you plan to watch the yearly Geminids Meteor Shower?

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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