Located on the summit of Mount Wilson above Pasadena at an altitude of 5715 feet, the Observatory is visible from much of the Los Angeles area. Visitors can view the historic Hooker 100-inch telescope from the Visitors’ Gallery inside the dome. Those purchasing tickets for the 1 pm Weekend Guided Tours, are admitted to the telescope floor directly beneath the 100-inch when available. There is also a small Astronomical Museum on the observatory grounds.
The Cosmic Cafe sandwich shop, located in the Pavilion above the main parking lot, serves fresh-made sandwiches and other treats and souvenirs on Saturdays and Sundays, April through November, from 10 am to 5 pm.
The observatory is open to visitors every day from 10 AM to 5 PM. Weather conditions may occasionally result in unscheduled closures. Access to Mount Wilson is via the Angeles Crest Highway (CA Hwy 2) from the 210 Freeway at La Canada Flintridge. You can download a printable PDF map with directions here.
Parking: A U.S. Forest Service Adventure Pass is required to park at the Observatory, as it is located on U.S. Forest Service land. A day pass may be purchased at the Cosmic Cafe on weekends between 10:00 a.m and 5:00 p.m. Other times, the $5 day pass or the $30 dollar annual pass may be purchased at many locations around Los Angeles before you head up. Click here to go to the U.S. Forest Service website for more information about the Adventure Pass and where to buy them. The website has a place to enter your location to search for nearby vendors.
Warning: Some features on newer vehicles may fail to work properly due to the high radio frequency interference near the broadcast towers. Common problems include non-functioning locks, alarms, and keyless ignitions. Older Tesla vehicles have been the most prone to this disabling interference. Do not set your alarm when near the towers. Consult your owner’s manual for an override procedure before you have a problem.