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Winchester Gun Club, Figueroa Mountain & Mt Pinos Observing Sites

Gun Club Driving Directions.

Looking West Towards the Entry Gate

Looking North towards Figueroa Mt

Looking East SkyGlow from SB

Our dark sky observations take place at the Winchester Canyon Gun Club located off of West Camino Cielo.

Click for a map of the area near the Gun Club


The Gun Club is located at an elevation of roughly 3000 feet.  It is removed enough from Santa Barbara that much of the sky glow is eliminated.  There are several concrete pads and picnic tables which make for a nice area to setup.  Most of set up all the way in the back.

To get to the Gun Club, take Highway 154 north over San Marcos Pass. Get off at West Camino Cielo. The exit is a left-hand turn, almost at the top of the Pass.
Proceed about five miles until the pavement runs out. The road is very twisty and often only one lane wide, so this 4.2 mile distance takes about 15 minutes or so.

The Gun Club is located on the right-hand side of the road. There are two large trees with a yellow locked gate between them.

On your way in or out at the Gun Club, please close the gate behind you and slide the lock through its slots so the gate appears to be closed and locked.

After Dark Car Lights off please, If you will be arriving after dark please turn off your headlights before you turn into the gate.  Use either your parking lights or a hand held flashlight to navigate through the gate and into the site.

Contact Paul Winn at webmaster@sbau.org or Joe Doyle to coordinate getting into the site and to be sure that there will be an observation.

Figueroa Driving Directions

Looking South

Looking North East

Looking North

Coming Soon

Click for Map to Figueroa Mountain  

This is the best Dark sky you can get to around here in an less than 1 1/2 Hour drive.  From where I live in Goleta its about 1 1/4 hour to get to the site.  There are 4 site's you can go to. Here I will give directions to the 2 sites that I think are best. 

Directions to Figueroa:
1. Take the 101 North. Exit at the 154 turn-off to Los Olivos. Itís about 8 miles past Buellton.
  1a. From Santa Barbara. take San Marcos Pass (154) to Los Olivos. Turn Right on Figueroa Mountain Road. 
  1a. SKIP TO Step #3
2. Go east on the 154 towards Los Olivos and turn Left (north) at Figueroa Mountain Road.
3. Stay on Figueroa Mountain Road at 11.8 miles you will come to the Ranger Station.
    Continue past the Figueroa Ranger Station. You will see the station down to your right.
5. At about .7miles  further you will see a dirt road on the left with a metal road gate. This goes to
Catway. Continue on the paved road.
6. Site # 1 The Lookout  Take the next dirt road to your left 1.1miles past the Ranger Station.
    If you stay on the pavement and you come to Figueroa Mt. Campground, you've gone 1/4 to 1/3 of a
    mile to far. Double back.
7. Follow the dirt road for about two miles.
At the Pino Alto turnoff take the right fork. Take the next fork
    to the right as well.
    If you find yourself going downhill you are on the wrong road. Follow the signs to the fire lookout. This
    is the spot.
8. SITE #2 The Saddle DONíT take the dirt road on step #6 Continue on the paved road
past Figueroa
    Mt. Campground It will take you about another 6 to 10 min's to get to the RED MOUND on the right.
9. At about 4 Miles you will come up on a Big Area of Red Dirt (RED MOUND) on your right side. Your 
    almost there. Some times you might see some of the Vandenberg members at this spot.
10.Drive 0.7 miles past the next open gate. The road is kind of narrow in spots and winds through a lot trees, then starts down a little hill.
     You will see a small turnout on the left that is where we set up.

Make sure you have a forestry pass.
You can get a forestry pass at Big 5 Sporting Goods; the cost is $5.00 per day.
Drive time from Santa Barbara via 154 and little traffic 70 minutes. It's about the same from Goleta via 101 N.


The Saturday closest to New Moon is the traditional gathering time for the dark sky observers.
If you will be leaving before any of the others, please check around and coordinate your departure time with those who are taking astro-photos.



Mt Pinos Driving Directions

Click here for a map to Mt Pinos




Take US-101 South 29 miles to CA-126 E/State Route 126 (signs for Santa Clarita)

Drive 40 Miles to I-5 N take the ramp to Sacramento.

Drive 33 miles to exit 205 for Frazier Mountain Park Rd.

Turn left under the freeway and Continue up Cuddy Valley Rd for 14.6 Miles.

Cuddy Valley Rd turns slightly left and becomes Mt Pinos Rd.

Continue for about 9 Miles to the Mt Pinos Parking lot