Observatory Campground

Palomar Mountain, California

Overview

Science buffs and families are drawn to Observatory Campground for its proximity to the Palomar Observatory, a world-class center of astronomy research operated by the California Institute of Technology. Just two miles from the observatory, the campground provides visitors with a unique learning experience in the great outdoors. The facility offers a variety of amenities for both tent and RV camping. Hiking, biking and picnicking can be found nearby.

Recreation

An exciting amateur astronomy project, Explore the Stars, occurs at the campground on several weekends each summer. A group of amateur astronomers from all across Southern California shares the beauty and awe of the night sky to more than a hundred non-astronomers at the campground. Visitors can also walk a 2.25-mile trail to the observatory itself.

Day hiking, biking, picnicking and scenic driving are available in the area. The campground makes a good base camp for visiting Palomar Mountain State Park and exploring the surrounding forest.

Facilities

The campground is organized around one large loop with parking spurs for each campsite. Several sites are equipped with level cement pads to allow campers to set up their telescopes. The sites can accommodate vehicles up to 32 feet in length.

Drinking water, coin-operated showers (peak season only), grills, trash cans, campfire rings, picnic tables, a flush toilet (peak season only) and two vault toilets are provided.

Natural Features

The campground sits at an elevation of 4,800 feet in the Palomar Mountains of Southern California. The site is forested with pine and oak trees, though several sites have been cleared to allow campers a wide view of the night sky.

Nearby Attractions

The campground is adjacent to Palomar Mountain State Park and under a two-hour drive from San Diego, California. A general store with basic necessities is down the road.

Reviews

Have you stayed here? Be the first to leave a review!


More Places to Stay

Palomar Mountain, California

Fry Creek Campground

Overview Fry Creek Campground is situated in the heart of Cleveland National Forest, uniquely located down the road from the world-famous Palomar Observatory. The fresh, clean air of the campground...

Warner Springs, California

Oak Grove Campground

Overview Located on the Cleveland National Forest, Oak Grove Campground is nestled in a valley of large oak groves and manzanita.Recreation Oak Grove Trail is a short walk of 1.5 miles and is locat...

Temecula, California

Temecula / Vail Lake KOA

Adventures Nearby

  • Hike to Palomar Observatory 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...

    4.4 miles 718 ft gain

  • Hike Thunder Spring and Chimney Flat Loop

    Palomar Mountain is the hidden gem of San Diego. Well, not so hidden per se- but most don't know that the little climb up the mountain can transport you from the prevalent brush-filled terrain of SD to a lush, diverse forest.The great thing about ...

    4 miles 900 ft gain

  • Hike to French Valley

    When it comes to Palomar Mountain State Park, most people stick to Doane Lake and Upper Doane Valley. Yet on the far right of the parking lot at Doane Pond, there is actually a trailhead that will guide you to a completely different section of the...

    3.8 miles 450 ft gain