Observatory Campground

Area Status: Open

Trail Views



5.2 miles of local trails


Campfires are not allowed when elevated fire restrictions are in effect. Please see our current fire restrictions page for more details.


Adventure Pass Required for day use only, not required for camping


Coin operated hot showers and flush toilet are currently unavailable for maintenance. 

Vaulted toilet, picnic tables, water 


To book one of the 42 sites, please visit Recreation.gov

Best Seasons

Open year round


Palomar Mountain, CA 92060

Ranger District

Palomar Ranger District - (760) 788-0250



With a nearby world-class observatory, lots of amenities, and access to the scenic Observatory Trail, its no wonder the Observatory area comes to life during the summer. Listen to the sounds of wildlife while roasting s'mores, or partake in fun activities like Star Parties where use of the renowned Hale Telescope allow visitors to explore the night sky. Get outdoors and explore all the area has to offer. Good for weekends and holidays, but reservations do fill up fast.

There are a total of 42 sites, 36 single sites and six doubles.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Can be reserved by calling toll free 1-877-444-6777 (International 518-885-3639 or TDD 877-833-6777) or on-line at http://www.recreation.gov
Reservations: The 32 campsites are available by reservation on http://www.recreation.gov/  Reservations must be made 8 days ahead of arrival and can be made up to 6 months in advance.
Area Amenities: Accessible, Fee charged for some activities, Picnic tables, Toilets
Fees: Fees: $15/night for single unit, $30/night for double unit, $5/night for extra vehicle. A Forest Adventure Pass is required for day use, but is not required for camping.
Usage: Light
Restrictions: Vehicles 32 ft. max.
Closest Towns: Santa Ysabel, CA
Water: Water
Restroom: Coin operated hot showers, Flush Toilet (1), Vault Toilet (2)
Operated By: Forest Service

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Campground Camping

An exciting amateur astronomy project occurs each summer and fall at Palomar Mountain's Observatory Campground. A group of amateur astronomers from all across southern California bring the beauty and the awe of the night sky to more than a hundred non-astronomers at a location only two miles from the world renowned Palomar Observatory.

No. of Sites 31 single site(s), 6 double site(s)
Reservation Info Twenty-one (21) sites and six (6) double sites can be reserved at www.recreation.gov.
No. of Accessible sites Six (6)

RV Camping

Pavement Type for Parking No
Reservation Info Twenty-one (21) single sites and six (6) double sites are available by reservation.  Go to www.recreation.gov
Hookup - Water No
Hookup - Sewer No
Dump Stations No
Fire Information
Hookups - Electric No
No. of Accessible sites
Hours of Operation: Seasonal use: Open April 1 - November 30

Day Hiking

Visitor Programs



Fee charged for some activities: coin operated hot showers
Accessible: six (6) sites are accessible

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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