- Located 34 miles southwest of Bend via Hwy 20.
- Three powerful telescopes allow visitors to view planets and stars on clear summer nights.
- Open to the public Friday and Saturday evenings, from late May until late September.
- Located on Pine Mountain at an elevation of 6,300 feet.
Located southeast of Bend on Pine Mountain, at an elevation of 6,300 feet, is the Pine Mountain Observatory. The facility belongs to the University of Oregon and was built for education and research in astronomy. There are three Cassegrain reflecting telescopes at the observatory, each housed within its own separate domed building. The telescope appertures are 15”, 24”, and 32”. As many as 4000 visitors come to the observatory during the summer each year to view planets, stars, and other celestial bodies.
Location and Directions
The Pine Mountain Observatory is located about 34 miles southeast of Bend. To get there, take Hwy 20 to Millican (26 miles) and turn right at the dirt road just past the little store. The observatory is 8 miles ahead. The drive from Bend takes approximately one hour.
The address is Bend Burns Star Route 702, Bend, OR 97702. Phone: 541-382-8331.
The observatory is open to visitors on Friday and Saturday evenings from late May until the last weekend in September. During the summer, programs start at 9 pm and may continue through the night if the weather is clear. As the days get shorter in September, programs start at 8:30 pm and then 8 pm. An informative presentation begins at sunset.
There is no fee. However, a $3 donation per person is encouraged.
- Viewing is best on clear nights. “Dark Moon” weekends provide the most optimal viewing opportunities.
- If you’re an amateur astronomer, you are welcome to bring your own telescope or binoculars.
- There is a free but primitive Forest Service campground located near the observatory. Campsites are available on a first come, first served basis, although it rarely gets full.
- Be sure to bring warm clothes. At 6,300 feet the temperatures can drop below freezing even during the summer. Also, wear shoes appropriate for mountain terrain and bring a small flashlight with a red colored shield as well.