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  • With the winding road to the summit of Mount Hamilton, Lick Observatory is a popular destination for local car clubs.

Important Travel Information:
During winter, please take extra precaution driving on Mt. Hamilton Road up to Lick Observatory. Snow and black ice can cause hazardous road conditions.

Car Club Information

If you are planning on visiting the observatory with a group, please contact us at to make advanced arrangements for access. Parking is extremely limited on the mountain.

The Gift Shop & Visitor Center are open year-round. Admission is free.

Monday - Wednesday

Thursday - Sunday
Open 12 - 5 p.m.

The Gift Shop and Visitor Center are also open on the following holidays: New Year's Day, MLK Day, President's Day, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday only). We are also open for the entire week between Christmas Day and New Year's Day, including New Year's Eve (Dec 26 - Jan 1). The observatory is closed on Thanksgiving Thursday, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

Free talks inside the dome of the 36-inch Great Refractor are given at the following times:

  • 12:30 p.m.
  • 1:30 p.m.
  • 2:30 p.m.
  • 3:30 p.m.
  • 4:30 p.m.

The Shane 3-meter visitor gallery is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Restroom Access
Vending machines, water fountain, and restrooms are open in the main building seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Travel Prepared
The observatory is more than 20 miles from downtown San Jose along Mt. Hamilton Road at an elevation of 4,200 feet. The road follows a gradual grade laid out over a century ago for horses and carts. It has many sharp curves and is quite narrow in places.

There are no gasoline or automative services at Mt. Hamilton or anywhere along the road outside of San Jose.

During the winter the road may be closed temporarily due to snowfall. For current road closure information, Visit the California Highway Information website and enter Hwy #130.