Weekend Public Tours

Public tours are being offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 AM and 1:00 PM
Max tour size is 15 people and tickets will be available for purchase ONLY at the Cosmic Cafe.

Docent-led walking tours of the Observatory are available every Saturday and Sunday during the dates listed above. There will be two tours per day, one leaving at 11:30 am and another leaving at 1:00 pm. Tours leave from the Cosmic Café located above the large parking lot at the entrance to the Observatory. Tours can take up to two hours to complete. 

A special feature of the tours is admission to the area directly beneath the 100-inch Telescope rather than a restricted view from the visitors’ gallery in the dome, as well as entrance into the 60-inch dome. On most tours, our solar astronomer will have the 150-foo solar tower telescope open as well.

On rare occasions,  tours may be cancelled due to inclement weather, unsafe/blocked roads to the Observatory, or a telescope may be off the tour due to a special event or maintenance.

Purchasing Tickets

Tickets are $15 (adults) and $13 (ages 12 and under & 62 and older). Tour tickets are available for same-day purchase at the Cosmic Café, and rarely sell out. Children under age 6 are not permitted. The tours involve about a mile of walking and climbing some stairs (please read the health notice below).

Private Tours

If you have a large group, we urge you to opt for a private tour instead. For more information on Private Tours please click here. These tours can be arranged by sending an email to tours@mtwilson.edu.

Health Notice: The high elevation of the Observatory (5715 ft) and the change in elevation during the approximately one-mile and two-hour long tour are unsuitable for individuals with respiratory and heart problems or with limited mobility.

The century-old facilities are not ADA-compliant and, except for the Astronomical Museum and the Cosmic Cafe, offer no access to those who cannot climb multiple flights of stars. Thus, tours of the Observatory, either guided or unguided, are inappropriate for some elderly people and for those who are not in good health.

Visitors should take these factors into consideration before touring the Observatory.

Weather conditions in the mountains can vary greatly and change suddenly. Be prepared for any weather conditions including snow and local dense fog. The weather is often much different on the mountain than in the city below. A live image from the observatory, update every four minutes, can be seen from the Towercam. Remember that conditions on the mountain may change from what you see on the Towercam.