Goldendale Observatory, Washington

Perched on top of a 2000 foot tall hillside in rural Washington, in the shadow of Mt Ranier sits one of the largest public telescopes and observatories in the nation.
Goldendale Observatory State park is primarily an educational facility that was actually begun as the brainstorm of four amateurastronomers with a vision.
M. W. McConnell, O. W. VanderVeldon, John Marshall and Don Connor, who were at the time citizens of Vancouver Washington, builg the 24-inch, Cassegrain reflecting telescope for Clark college and in the end, donated it to the town of Goldendale, who, using local, federal and grant monies, constructed observatory buildings on the hilltop north of Goldendale.

One of the US’s largest telescopes sits here, offering its services to sky watchers and wildlife observers alike, since 1973 when the observatory opened.

The Goldendale Observatory

Although there is no camping available here, camping does take place within a five mile radius of the state park, and there is water craft launching, if you purchase the daily permit which costs about 7 dollars.There are camping facilities available to you are nearby Brooks Memorial Park or Maryhill State Park, which you will have time to check into earlier in the day prior to running to the Observatory since the programs there run later.
If you select to go to the observatory earlier, you will be treated to a wonderful view of not only the surrounding scenery such as Mount Rainier but also the wildlife, including elk, bear, hawks and eagles, who display themselves regularly for the parks occupants.
Hiking is also an option for you in the state park, with some well laid out places to hike and view.

The view of the country side is spectacular from the top of the hill, showing a great deal of the area surrounding the observatory, and in fact most of the park. Night time offers one of the most magnificent views of the universe and the night skies available, particularly when see from the 20 foot diameter of the dome.

Although the park itself is not large it is well worth a visit to view the skies in a way that you’ve never seen before.

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