Hike to Palomar Observatory from the Palomar Observatory Campground



4.4 miles

Elevation Gain

718 ft

Route Type


Added by Marc Machin

Hike to the iconic Palomar Observatory on this easy trail from the Palomar Observatory Campground.

Situated in the Palomar Mountains of Cleveland National Forest, Palomar Observatory Campground offers many amenities for enjoyable camping and exploring the area.  A portion of the campsites loop has been cleared of trees with level cement pads to allow campers to set up their own telescopes.  Drinking water, coin-op showers, grills, campfire rings, picnic tables and flush toilets are provided.  Reservations are made at recreation.gov.  

Right next to campsite #19 is the trailhead to the Palomar Observatory Trail.  This trail, which is a registered National Recreation Trail, meanders up 2.2 miles to the famous Palomar Observatory.  The trail is almost entirely shaded among the pine and oak trees and is relatively easy for all skill levels.  There is also the occasional sweeping view of the valleys to the south.  The top of the trail ends at the observatory parking lot.  The observatory is open almost daily to the public from 9:00am to 4:00pm (see http://www.astro.caltech.edu/p... for all of the details).  You can go inside the observatory itself and tour the visitors gallery to see the 200" telescope along with several photographs and articles describing the history of the observatory.  There is a nearby gift shop as well.  Finally, retrace your steps on the trail to return to the campsite. 

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Known for

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Picnic Area



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