A few people have inquired of me where to go to observe the Perseid Meteor Shower this August. Well, there are some good and decent sites around the Salt Lake Valley that I could recommend, then some down in Utah Co. and then some other locations.
I am not going to recommend my observing sites as for someone just wanting to observe the meteor shower I feel they are too far out. I intend to be observing either later this week or this weekend. I enjoy a shower, but I enjoy observing more. So here are some local sites that are a little bit out of the way, but ones I would recommend.
1. Out pass Guardsman Pass on Public Lands.
The first one is just pass Guardsman Pass up Big Cottonwood Canyon. You have to be careful driving up here, the road snakes a LOT and there are bicycle riders up here and others. After you climb up pass the ski resorts, the road turns to dirt as you can see in this picture:
The road is safe and most sites will tell you a family car can handle, my Outback, no problem. Just drive safely here. You can see after you come down from this vantage there will be places to pull over and you can do so. Some of the land is National Forest land, some is private land so I would stick to the area next to the road. Great views are available up here if your willing to take the drive. Heck, before coming up you can spend the day hiking in the canyon or doing a zip line or summer Ski Resort roller coaster ride before heading out to see the Perseid's. Here is a light pollution map of the area so you can see what light pollution will impact your view.
2. Solider Hollow or Wasatch Mountain State Park.
The next area off the beaten path at night that I recommend to get away to if you want a decent chance of seeing the Perseids is Solider Hollow up by Midway/Heber City in the Heber Valley. You can see from the map to get there you simply come up Provo Canyon like your going to Heber, turn left to Charleston Road, then left to Tate Lane. There are some group sites and picnic areas in the Wasatch Mountain State Park which has a pdf of the park and a map at this LINK. IF you are by the water, bring mosquito repellent as they are out. This is a wonderful site to have a picnic, camp IF you want to and there is an open camp site and enjoy the meteor shower. Perhaps leave early in the day, come up the Alpine Loop, take in a relaxing Chair Lift Ride at Sundance and then come up. That makes for an tremendous day! Good date for married couples or people dating also.
Here are some images of the area. Plenty of gorgeous skies to site back and view the shower from!
Maps of how to get there and light pollution impacts.
3. Five Mile Pass Area and Pit n Pole
My last area is made up of two or three areas, all close together. It is an area at Pit n Pole that I will observe at, and if you go all the way to the Pit n Pole, thee site is dark, with wide open horizons. If you are sitting back you will see the shower from here. Five Mile Pass where the ATVers and Motorcycles are is also a good place or the area just south of it off the dirt road that leads south to one of the open places. Not as open as Pit n Pole, you'll have campers on the weekend but still a decent place to go and see these. Here is the map of the area and their locations. Go out SR 73 pass Cedar Fort and Fairfield, and then out to Five Mile Pass. Follow the map (if you go to Pit n Pole there is a road just pass 5 Mile Pass where Hwy 73 turns north toward Tooele and you turn left there. Follow that for about 9 miles and there will be a major dirt road on your left near PR 003 marker. Follow that up to the first right, head out to the Pole and your there. Be careful, the road to the Pole is bumpy. Here are 6 year old directions from my blog on how to get out to Pit n Pole. FYI, the road was turned into dirt and ground up asphalt a couple of years ago as an FYI. LINK to directions with pictures. You can see how wide open this location is.
There you go. Three sites I would go to to relax and observe the meteor shower! IF you go, please do the following. Dress in layers, with the ability to put layers on. It gets cool to cold in the mountains and the deserts of Utah even in the summer. Take if possible some chairs that lean back, yawn chairs for example, and a good hat if it is cold, some food, water and other non-alcoholic drink (your driving I assume home) and a few friends you enjoy being with. Then go out and just enjoy the night. No equipment is needed just your two eyes. IF you have to bring something then take a pair of binoculars. I promise though you'll miss some if your looking through them.
I hope this provides a few ideas of how to enjoy the Perseid Meteor shower this August of 2015! May the wonders of the sky amaze you!
LITTLE MOUNTAIN SITE
Just thought I would share one more area to observe. This is up at the Little Mountain site in Emigration Canyon. You can find that location from this map at the Salt Lake Astronomical Society. LINK. Though there is light pollution from this site you should still be able to see the Perseids.