Driving to Palomar Observatory
The Observatory is located within the Cleveland National Forest on Palomar Mountain in North San Diego County at an elevation of 5,598 feet (1,702 meters) above sea level. Our street address is:
This Google Maps link will do a good job of providing custom directions (see "Get directions").
Please be aware that some on-line and GPS programs can give incorrect directions to Palomar Observatory. We recommend consulting the Google Maps link given above.
If the Google link above doesn't help, please use the directions below.
From the Los Angeles or San Diego areas
Exit Interstate 15 at state highway 76 eastbound. Follow the signs to Palomar Mountain. Twenty five miles (40 km) from the interchange, County Road S6 (also known as South Grade Road) exits (5 miles/8 km past Valley Center Road) in a "Y" to the left and climbs to the Palomar summit. S6 ends at the Observatory gates.
From the Palm Springs area
Take Route 74 west to 371 south, then Route 79 east and south (toward Indio), then Route 76 west to S7 up to Palomar Mountain and after 11 miles (18 km) on S7 bear right onto S6 another 4.5 miles (7 km) to the Observatory parking lot.
We have road maps to help you find your way here:
Visitor parking is only available in the visitor parking lot; please keep left at the entry way. Visitor overnight parking is not permitted at the Observatory, and the visitor parking lot will be closed and locked promptly at 3:00 pm PST (3:30 pm PDT).
Current Information on Road Conditions
Please check the following links:
Questions? We've answered many common visiting, media, and academic questions in our public FAQ page.