Things to Do at the Peak of the Year

We're halfway through the calendar, and way-up-high events are drawing us to the mountains.

Patrik Giardino
  • The Saturday Evening Astronomy Talk & Telescope Viewing at Mt. Wilson Observatory is scheduled for July 2 beginning at 5:30 p.m.; $40
  • Trails are open at Palomar Mountain State Park
  • Scenic gondolas are running at certain ski areas, including Mammoth Mountain; check times and details before visiting

Is the calendar on your wall similar to a real-life mountain?

It can definitely feel like it on certain days.

Sometimes we're huffing and puffing up the long course of an afternoon, much like we would on a strenuous mountain hike, and never feeling like we'll reach our personal summit.

But the year-long course of our days is also a bit peak-ish in nature, and the calendar's tippy-top point?

It occurs soon after June makes way for July, making July 2 the halfway point of the year (in a non-leap year, that is).

The "top of the year" also happens to be one of the warmest stretches of the calendar, at least around Southern California, and finding an actual peak to celebrate the year's peakiest moment feels like a cool route to take. ("Cool," of course, meaning nifty, but also those lovely cooler temperatures afforded by higher elevation places, too.)

Mt. Wilson Observatory, which sits in its own pretty peak-like situation, is a perfect place to honor the year's peak.

You can visit the grounds of the astronomical icon any day you like, but there happens to be a special event on July 2, which is officially the middlepoint of the calendar.

It's the Saturday Evening Astronomy Talk & Telescope Viewing, a multi-hour starry soirée that gives guests a chance to peer into the deep reaches of space.

Which provides another truism of life: Just when you think you've reached one peak, there always seems to be a greater distance beyond.

It's $40, and registering? You can start at Mt. Wilson Observatory's Special Events page.

There are other peaks to peek at when the calender's top point arrives, including Palomar Mountain State Park, where hiking trails and group picnic areas are open.

And Summit Bike Park near Big Bear Lake is all about marvelous mountain biking, but there are plenty of warm-weather pursuits around Big Bear Mountain Resort, including the Scenic Sky Chair.

If you're looking for a gondola experience, you can find sky-high trams running in the summertime at select California mountains, even if they're not hauling snowboarders up the slopes.

You can head up Mammoth Mountain and enjoy the vast vistas from 11,053 feet (as well as the Eleven53 Interpretive Center & Café).

Do book your gondola ride before making for the Eastern Sierra destination.

And the Heavenly Mountain Gondola? That's a favorite for visitors to the Lake Tahoe area, both at the peak of the year and throughout the spectacular summer months.

A café, sports shop, and observation deck await gondola guests at the top of the 2.4-mile trip to the top.

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