Driving to Palomar Observatory

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The Observatory is located near the Cleveland National Forest on Palomar Mountain in North San Diego County at an elevation of 5,500 feet above sea level.

Street Address :
Palomar Observatory
35899 Canfield Road
Palomar Mountain
CA 92060-0200

This Google Maps link will do a good job of providing custom directions (see the "Get directions" link).

Please note that most on-line & GPS programs give incorrect directions for reaching the observatory. Roads like Nate Harrison Grade and anything labeled a "truck trail" are not passable. One notable exception is this Google Maps link.

If the Google link above doesn't help, please use the directions below:

To reach Palomar from the LA or San Diego areas, exit Interstate 15 at state highway 76 eastbound. Follow the signs to Palomar Mountain. Twenty five miles from the interchange, County Road S-6 (also known as South Grade Road) exits (5 miles past Valley Center Road) in a "Y" to the left and climbs to the Palomar summit. S-6 ends at the Observatory gates.

To reach the observatory from the Palm Springs Area take Route 74 west to 371 south, then Route 79 east & south (toward Indio), then Route 76 west to S7 up to Palomar Mountain and after 11 miles on S7 bear right onto S6 another 4.5 miles to the Observatory parking lot.

Sorry, but no overnight parking is permitted at the observatory.

We have road maps to help you find your way here:

Enter the left-hand gate and park in the Visitor's Parking Lot. As you walk up the path to the 200-inch dome, the visitors center and gift shop will be on your right.

Special notes: