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Goldendale Observatory
Located on a hill overlooking Goldendale, WA.

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Goldendale Observatory

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.

Park Hours
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.

Five acres.

Acquired in one parcel from the City of Goldendale in 1980 for a total cost of $100,000.

Historical Background
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.

Driving Directions
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.

Back to State parks
Back to Parks main page | Park Comment Submission

Courtesy of Washington State Park and Recreation Commission

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