Goldendale Observatory is a five-acre educational facility and certified “Dark Sky Park” on a 2,100 foot elevation hilltop 2 miles north of downtown Goldendale. The park features one of the nation's largest public telescopes and has attracted tens of thousands of sky-watchers since its dedication in 1973. The observatory is open to anyone wanting to view the cosmos above or gorgeous scenery below.
No camping available.Want to support Washington State Parks? Get involved by joining a friends' group. For more information, visit the Friends' Group web page.
April 17 - Sept. 30, 10AM to 11:30PM, Wednesday - Sunday
October 1 - March 31, 10AM to 3PM, Monday - Friday. (Park Visitor Center Only)
Daylight presentations run continuously and may include viewing the Sun via solar telescope and the planets Venus and Mercury via primary telescope.
Evening presentations start at 8PM (9PM in July) and may include outdoor lectures and the viewing of various planets, multi-star-systems, and deep-sky-objects via primary telescope.
Tours are available by reservation. To make a reservation, call the park office at (509) 773-3141.
Drop-ins by small groups welcome.
Reservations required for groups larger than 10.
Free Admission; Washington State Parks Discover Pass required for parking over 15 minutes and may be purchased on-site.
Winter Schedule for all Washington State Parks
Please note: There is a permanent burn ban in effect at Goldendale Observatory State Park. No open flames of any type are allowed, no smoking. Internal RV stoves are allowed.
For information on burn bans throughout Washington state, you may visit the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website
. Please note that individual park burn bans may differ from DNR burn bans and may change without notice. Please check current conditions upon arriving at the park.
Don't move firewood: Please protect the Pacific Northwest from invasive species by obtaining or purchasing your firewood at or near your camping destination (within 50 miles). Firewood can carry insects and diseases that threaten the health of our western forests. You can make a difference by buying and burning your firewood locally. For more information, visit online at www.dontmovefirewood.org or the Washington Invasive Species Council website.
The Discover Pass now can be used on either of two vehicles!Annual pass: $30
One-day pass: $10
(Transaction and dealer fees may apply)
A Discover Pass is required for motor-vehicle access to state parks and recreation lands managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Exemptions:
Your purchase of the Discover Pass supports recreation on state lands. However, the Discover Pass is not required if you are camping or renting overnight accommodations, for the duration of your stay at that state park. For additional exemptions and more information, please visit the Discover Pass website
The park has no camping. Camping facilities are nearby at Brooks Memorial State Park or Maryhill State Park. Check into your campsite at these parks before coming to evening programs at the observatory, as the programs run late.
Located on a hill overlooking Goldendale, Wash. in Klickitat County.
1602 Observatory Drive
Goldendale, WA 98620
From north on Hwy. 97:
Approaching the town of Goldendale, watch for sign reading "Goldendale Observatory, Next Right." Take this exit into Goldendale (Hwy.142/ Broadway). Drive one mile to four-way stop, turn right, and drive north 0.7 mile to fork in the road. Take the right fork, stay on paved road, and continue 0.7 mile up hill to observatory parking lot.
Goldendale Observatory downloadable pdf map #1
List of all downloadable Washington State Park maps
The park offers spectacular views of the countryside from atop the observatory hill in the daytime, and magnificent views of the universe at night. The observatory features a 20-foot-diameter dome and one of the largest public telescopes in the nation.
Goldendale Observatory is the fruition of the dream of four amateur astronomers, M. W. McConnell, O. W. VanderVeldon, John Marshall and Don Connor. These four citizens of Vancouver, Washington began constructing a 24-inch, Cassegrain reflecting telescope for Vancouver's Clark college. They ultimately donated the telescope to the town of Goldendale, which constructed observatory buildings on a hilltop north of Goldendale. Funding for construction was provided by donations, a federal grant and a bank loan. The observatory was dedicated as a public education center in 1973. The Goldendale Observatory Corporation, a non-profit, volunteer organization, operated the facility through 1980. Washington State Parks acquired the observatory in 1980.
The Goldendale Observatory is a major center for viewing astronomical events. It was the designated official headquarters of the National Astronomical League for the total solar eclipse of Feb. 26, 1979. The interpretive center offers afternoon and evening programs about telescopes and star-gazing.
| ||Available in the area|
| ||• Auto repair|
• Overnight Accommodations
• Pay phone
• Postal service
• Recreational equipment
All services are located one mile away in Goldendale.
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• Interpretive Activities
Goldendale Observatory Interpretive Center offers tours and sky-gazing opportunities afternoons and evenings year-round. Summer and winter programs vary. Contact the park for details at (509) 773-3141.
Free days at state parks
: Visit Washington state parks for free. The Discover Pass is not required to visit a state park on designated free days.
2014 State Parks free days:
Jan. 19 and 20 – In honor of Martin Luther King Day
March 19 – In honor of Washington State Parks' 101st birthday
April 19 – A spring Saturday free day
April 22 – Earth Day
May 11 – A spring Saturday free day
June 7 and 8 – In honor of National Trails Day and WDFW Free Fishing Weekend
June 14 – National Get Outdoors Day
Aug. 25 – In honor of National Park Service’s birthday
Sept. 27 –National Public Lands Day
Nov. 11 – Veteran's Day weekend
Please note: A Discover Pass is still required to access lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife during State Parks free days. For more information, please visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov
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|First Day Hikes: Ring in 2014 by hiking at a Washington state park on New Year’s Day. Discover the natural beauty of Washington as part of a national effort to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun. Goldendale City trail: moderate difficulty, all ages, .5 miles, dogs allowed on leash. Bring star map and home telescope. First Day Hikes are presented in partnership with America’s State Parks. For more information about hikes across the country, visit www.americasstateparks.org.
Full list of events
at Washington State Parks
Picnic and Day-use Facilities
There are two unsheltered picnic tables, available first come, first served.
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|• Deer or Elk||• Eagles|
|Physical Features|| ||Plant Life|| |
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Park photo gallery