Goldendale Observatory State Park Heritage Site

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Goldendale Observatory reopens April 24!

To comply with the state’s Phase 3 order, the observatory will operate at a reduced capacity. Free observatory programs take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays only. Visitors must register online for the programs. Evening programs are not being offered at this time.

NOTE: All interpretive programs for May and June have been reserved. More information about July scheduling and beyond will be forthcoming. 

The facility will not open for drop-in visitors, and staff will not offer private tours until further notice.


Set in the hills above the Columbia River, Goldendale Observatory houses one of the nation’s largest, most accessible public telescopes. The newly renovated site is famous for its dark skies and informative science programs.

Daytime visitors will find stunning views of the countryside and vivid sunsets, which coincide with moonrise at certain times of year. So, bring your sweetheart, your family, your star-watcher friends and your cameras, and take part in one of the many viewing programs held here.

The main telescope was the brainchild of four Vancouver, Washington-area amateur astronomers who designed and built the instrument in the 1960s over a period of six years, with help from Clark College and its students. Vancouver’s light pollution and cloudy weather precluded siting the telescope in that area, and the builders’ search for a perfect star-gazing spot eventually led them to Goldendale. The telescope was formally donated after the town agreed to build a public observatory to house it.

This day-use park is less than 25 miles from the Maryhill Museum of Art and larger camping parks of Maryhill State Park and Columbia Hills Historical State Park, making the area a fascinating and scenic destination.

Park features
Goldendale Observatory is a 5-acre facility on a hilltop 2,100 feet above sea level and 2 miles north of downtown Goldendale. The park, with its large public telescope, has attracted hundreds of thousands of sky-watchers since its dedication in 1973.

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Interpretive opportunities

> ALERT Interpretive opportunities are returning on April 24th 2021 in a limited capacity. 

Under normal circumstances, the interpretive center offers afternoon observation and evening night-sky tours via one of America's largest public telescopes. Starting April 24th, 2021, afternoon programs will resume by appointment only. Evening shows are temporarily unavailable but are expected to resume by late Summer 2021.

The afternoon programs provides an opportunity for visitors to explore the new Goldendale Observatory and take in a solar show featuring live telescope views of the Sun. Our Microsoft Bookings calendar can be used to schedule your visit. Available dates and times are automatically removed from the calendar as they become full. NOTE: All interpretive programs for May and June have been reserved. More information about July scheduling and beyond will be forthcoming.