Fredericksen Meadow


This observing site was previously known as Five Mile Meadow and was recently renamed in honor of David Fredericksen. For those of you who might not have made this kind of trip before, here are several important points:

It is about 2.5 hours driving time from central Phoenix to the site.

The road is paved all the way to the final turn off and then it is a well maintained dirt road right up to the meadow, the family sedan will have no trouble getting in and out of this site.

There are no facilities at the site, so be prepared for camping in the pines
At about 7000 feet altitude it gets COLD, even in June, so bring plenty of winter gear, you can't overdress when using a telescope at high altitude.

From central Phoenix or the west side, take I-17 north to the Verde Valley turnoff and go east on Highway 260, the General Crook Trail, for about 30 miles east of the town of Camp Verde. The road ends in a “T” with Highway 87. Turn left (generally north) and drive about 12 miles, through the little town of Clint’s Well. This is the gas station, restaurant and ranger station on your left. If your trek originates in the East Valley, just head out of town on Highway 87 (Beeline). After you pass through Clint’s Well, there is a left turn lane that will allow you to turn left onto Forest Highway 3, aka Lake Mary Road. As you drive north on Lake Mary Road you will pass the Happy Jack RV park on the left and pass through a large area of trees where there has been a forest fire.

After about 12 miles on Lake Mary Road, look for mile marker 301 and slow down to look for a dirt road on your left. The sign for this road says “Bar D Ranch”. You will know you are on the correct forestry road by two brown signs, a small one with number 229 and another, larger, with Bar D Ranch distance. You will pass under high voltage power lines at about 1.5 miles and there is a cattle guard at about 3 miles. If you make no turns off the well maintained road then you will reach a cross road marked 305, on a brown sign. The meadow is straight ahead, past the cross road and just to the left. The meadow is elongated in an easterly direction and, if you stay on the original road 229 it will take you just to the north side, where it is best to set up. About 1/10 of a mile past the cross road is an opening in the trees to your left that leads to an opening where you can set up. I called this site “Five Mile Meadow” because it is about 5 miles from the pavement on the forestry road.

If you have a Garmin GPS receiver you can click here to download a Fredericksen Meadow Site Garmin (.gdb) database file which you can open in MapSource and then send to your GPS unit. This will allow you to invoke your receiver's GoTo functionality to calculate a route to the all of the observing sites we frequent, complete with turn-by-turn directions. Note: please use the route contained in this file instead of the route your GPS unit may calculate. The former is the preferred route; the latter may have you exit at Stoneman Lake Road, which would make for a very rough journey.

Important: the one major restriction from the ranger station is:
“Do not drive into the middle of the meadow”!
Stay near the tree line.