Saturday June 23rd, 10am-7:30pm
Sunday June 24th, 10am-5pm
Night-Viewing Program: Saturday June 23, 7:30pm-12am
From the 210 freeway, follow the Angeles Crest Highway (State Highway 2) north out of La Canada-Flintridge, past the Angeles Forest Highway turnoff to Palmdale, to the Mount Wilson turnoff at Red Box. This is about 14 miles from the 210 Freeway. Drive about 5 miles more to Mount Wilson. You will arrive at a small intersection near a number of transmitter towers. Follow the “Observatory” sign on the one—way road to the far right around the towers until you reach the Forest Service gate, which is the entrance to Skyline Park and the Observatory. More info here.
Carpooling is highly recommended. The mountain roads are narrow, with hairpin curves.
Parking & Parks Pass
The Forest Service requires that each vehicle parking within the Angeles National Forest (which includes the Observatory parking lot) display a National Forest Adventure Pass or a Golden Age Passport. The Adventure Pass may be purchased for $5 (one day) or $30 (one year), per vehicle.
On weekends, the passes may be purchased at the Cosmic Café above the main parking lot. Also, it is available at Clear Creek Ranger Station, many local sporting goods stores, or at the Shell service station just south of the 210 Freeway on Angeles Crest Highway. Find an Adventure Pass vendor here.
Remember: These recreation fees go to provide needed public services, upkeep of facilities and to repair the impacts of heavy use or abuse of the forest landscape and wildlife habitat. More information on the Adventure Pass and the Angeles National Forest website.
How to Prepare/What to Bring
Take only memories and photos, leave only footprints.
For a safe and enjoyable excursion, visitors should exercise caution. Be aware that Mount Wilson is at an elevation of 5,700 feet above sea level. Anyone with cardiac or respiratory concerns should prepare accordingly. Weather conditions on the mountain are variable and may change suddenly. Summer may be hot during the day and cool in the evening, so plan to bring water, sunscreen, a hat, and dress in layers of comfortable clothing with shoes that have solid footing. The surrounding forest terrain is rugged, and occasionally rattlesnakes are seen on the grounds. Paths may be uneven at certain points, include loose gravel, stairs or have steep drop-offs. Visitors are advised to stay on marked paths and roadways, with caution to vehicles and respect for areas designated closed to the public. The Observatory is on land within the Angeles National Forest. All visitors are subject to regulations established by the U.S. Forest Service.
Food & Water
The Cosmic Café at Mount Wilson Observatory serves light fare: fresh sandwiches, salads, beverages and treats. Limited concessions are available, and plan to bring cash. If you bring your own picnic, there are scenic spots throughout the Angeles National Forest and a few on the Observatory grounds. Please respect the delicate ecology of the forest—anything carried onto the grounds must be carried out.
Hiking & Camping in the Area
The Angeles National Forest offers rugged trails for hiking and a number of camping options. Learn more about the forest on the Angeles National Forest website.
There are a number of trails and picnic areas in proximity to the observatory, a few are listed below. Please check with the Angeles National Forest website or local ranger station prior to departure for up to date news and maps.
Off the Angeles Crest Highway (2 Freeway): Switzer´s Picnic Site, Charlton Flats.
Henniger Flats/Old Mount Wilson Toll Road (+9 miles): The historic Mount Wilson Toll Road, on which the original telescope equipment was carried by mule and model-T, lies east of the Observatory, near Altadena.
To the south-east (Sierra Madre), Chantry Flat offers scenic picnic areas and day-hike trails (+6 miles) to Mount Wilson. Check out Adams Pack Station.
More information about camping here.
Bottom right: Pack Train Routes, Mountain Trails and Camps, Sierra Madre, California, 1920, courtesy The Lizzie's Trail Inn Volunteers, View Larger
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