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.
Located on a hill overlooking Goldendale, WA.
Summer: Wednesday through Sunday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight.
Winter: Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.
to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Friday by appointment.
Day use opens Sept. 30 through March 30.
Acquired in one parcel from the City of Goldendale in 1980 for a total
cost of $100,000.
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.
Parking lot for 30 cars, lecture room, restrooms, and a small science
library. The observatory houses a 24.5 inch reflecting telescope (one
of the largest apertures in the USA available for public use). There
is also a secondary dome which houses an eight-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain
reflecting telescope. The facility has twelve portable telescopes and
special camera accessories available to the public. The lecture room
contains astronomical displays.
Of Special Interest
The Goldendale Observatory has been a major center for viewing astronomical
events. It was the designated official headquarters of the National
Astronomical League for the Total Eclipse of Feb. 26, 1979. The interpretive
center offers afternoon and evening programs about telescopes and star-gazing.
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.
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.
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Courtesy of Washington
State Park and Recreation Commission