Lake-side county park near Gilroy.
A paved large lot with a bathroom. Reports from 2012 indicated some possible issues with an automatic light on the bathroom making observing non ideal.
The rangers say that fog rarely makes it in. The surrounding low hills seem to protect the site from wind, yet don 't restrict the horizons much. The site appears to be a little darker than Coe (without valley fog), but not as dark as Dino. There is a light dome to the south from Gilroy and to the Northwest from San Jose.
The paved lot us larger than Henry Coe, but smaller than at Dinosaur Point. Along the edge of the parking lot are a few picnic tables and grills. There are real flush toilets. There are no lights.
You can expect boaters when you arrive during the early evening, but, like Dino, they clear out by the time it is dark. Since the site is closer to civilization, you can expect the occasional car passing by or even entering the lot. The rangers and security patrol the area and usually dim their headlights. It probably is not a good site for imaging.
The drive from San Jose is shorter than Coe or Dino. Expect about 3-4 miles on narrow, curving roads.
In return for our access, the rangers expect us to host a star party or two at the park. I'll keep you posted on details of our commitments.
As with all sites, use is a privilege. During the first year, we should consider our use probationary. We should ensure we make a good first impression. Be extra careful to clean up before you leave. Be tolerant of those who wander in with their headlights on. Be patient with curious visitors and offer to share views through your scope. Report any problems to me so I can keep the rangers informed.
In addition, thanks to Phil T, as he has discovered there are various open food facilities on your way out of Gilroy, having extended hours, in case you have the munchies. In-and Out Burger, open until 1:00AM, Denny's restaurant, not sure of the hours but open when I've passed after 2:00AM and I'm sure a few others. Directions:
From HWY101 South, take the Leavesley Ave exit. Go east past the outlet stores. Take a left turn onto New Avenue. After approximately 0.5 miles, turn right onto Roop Rd. The road narrows and winds up the hill. After approximately 3 miles, turn left into Coyote Lake Park. If rangers are at the gate or office, stop and let them know that you are with the astronomy group and plan to observe that night. There is a day use fee, but we are not required to pay for nighttime observing. Drive through the park until you come to the paved parking lot by the boat ramp, approximately 2 miles from the Fee Collection Booth. This is the observing site. GPS Location: https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=37.092627,-121.542993&z=15&t=h&hl=en-US&gl=US&mapclient=apiv3Elevation:
Clear Sky Clock: Coyote Lake Clear Sky Clock
Weather: Coyote Lake NOAA Weather
Owner: Santa Clara County
Use Policy: Public Access. Anyone can use it for observing at night. No reservations are required