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Observatory Campground Cleveland National Forest California

Observatory Overview

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Observatory campground has 43 campsites for tents, trailers and RVs set among a beautiful coniferous forest.  This is one of the few southern California areas with a Sierra Nevada-like atmosphere. East of the campground is the world-famous Palomar Observatory.

There are 30 single campsites, 6 double campsites and 8 walk-in campsites. Most campsites have ample spacing away from the neighboring site. Each campsite also has a table, fire ring and grill. The campground  has outhouse style restrooms with flushable toilets, drinking water, and an amphitheater. There are also showers and sinks located at the north end of the campground. Campsites 9-16 are walk-to.

Observatory – Area Recreation

There’s lots to see and do at nearby Palomar Mountain State Park including hiking, biking, picnicking and fishing in Doane Pond. Wildlife viewing is also nice here. The Palomar Observatory also has free star parties on Friday and Saturday nights (schedule HERE).

Other campgrounds in the area include Fry Creek and Doane Valley at Palomar Mountain State Park. Doane Valley has 31 campsites and Fry Creek has 20. Hellhole Canyon County Preserve (near Valley Center, CA) also has group camping.

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  • Amphitheater
  • BBQ Grills
  • Campfire Center
  • Campground Host
  • Campsite Tables
  • Comfort Station
  • Drinking Water
  • Equestrian trail
  • Fire Pit
  • Fire Rings
  • Firewood Available
  • Grills
  • Iron Ranger
  • Observatory
  • Pets OK
  • Picnic Tables
  • Ranger Station
  • Restrooms (Flush Toilets)
  • Showers
  • Biking
  • Bird Watching
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historic Sites
  • Horseback riding
  • Mountain Biking
  • Nature Programs
  • Nature Trails
  • Observatory
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • Pond
  • Stargazing
  • Walking Trails
  • Wildlife Viewing
19952 SP Road
Palomar Mountain, California 92060
760 742-3462
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Observatory Availability Alerts

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Best Campsites
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Campsite Types
  • ADA
  • Primitive
  • RV
  • Tent
  • Trailer
  • Walk-To
# of Campsites:



April – November



Observatory Photos

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Observatory Campground Restroom
Observatory Campground Sign
Obsevatory Campground Amphitheater
Palomar Mountain State Park Observatory
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Observatory Comments & Reviews

Visited Observatory Campground lately? We'd love to hear about your adventure. Did you find us useful? Did we forget something? Anything our community should know before heading out to Observatory?

3 Comments on “Observatory”

  1. Maria Mejia says:

    I’ve camped at this US Forest service campground several times and find it a nice alternative to the more expensive Palomar State Park. If you have ambulatory issues it’s much easier to get around in this campground. The Observatory is a short distance away and the trail from the CG is a moderate hike. You will want to bring some bug spray as the flies and mosquitoes are present! The reason to come to this location is the excellent view of the night sky. This CG is geared towards campers who want to stargaze. You will find it a popular place for amateur astronomers. The bathrooms are fitted with red lights so as not to disturb the stargazers at night. The facilities are reasonably clean but it’s a good idea to wear shower shoes and to bring some Lysol disinfectant wipes. The campground host is not always there. There is a small market and restaurant/gift shop just a couple miles away.

  2. Very pretty campground but so many bugs in June (mosquitoes, flies, bees, red ants). Made the trip a bit unpleasant. Vault restrooms were fairly clean, showers were small.

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