Astronomer’s Lodging at Mount Wilson Observatory

Lodging is available for astronomers and staff visiting the CHARA Array at Mount Wilson Observatory.  Please contact Craig Woods (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to reserve lodging at least two weeks prior to your arrival.  We have two cottages available for occupancy:

Cadman Cottage

  • 3 bedrooms, twin beds
  • 2 bathrooms, full w/showers
  • Full kitchen

Kapteyn Cottage

  • 2 bedrooms, full beds
  • 2 bathrooms, full w/showers
  • Full kitchen

Cost: $45 first night and $20 each additional night, per person.  Payment may be made by credit card here.

Exemptions provided for:

  • Astronomers participating in NOAO
  • Astronomers purchasing time on the Array
  • Georgia State University students and employees
  • Contact Director, Douglas Gies (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for additional information on exemptions/waivers (e.g., engineering time, financial need, etc.)

Directions and additional information about traveling to Mount Wilson can be found here.

During your stay at Mount Wilson

There are no food services or vending machines on Mt. Wilson, except for the Cosmic Cafe open on weekends from April-November. The closest town (La Cañada) is about 19 miles away. You will need to purchase groceries in Pasadena, or at Trader Joe’s or Ralph’s in La Cañada. In addition, La Cañada has one “American” restaurant (Hill Street Café) and the following eateries: a pizza place, a Japanese restaurant, a Mexican restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, Taylor Steak House, and a Subway, all located on the main street (Foothill Boulevard). On Mt. Wilson, there are facilities for cooking and dining (stove, oven, microwave, freezer, refrigerator, dishes, cookware, silverware, paper napkins, and tables and chairs) in the Cottages. It is advised that meals are cooked in the housing area where you are staying. The CHARA office kitchen is not a full meal preparation facility and is available mainly for staff. The water supply at Mt. Wilson is safe for drinking; it is tested regularly to make sure that it is within government standards.

Please mark or identify your food, and when you leave either discard all perishables or identify them as available for others to use by writing FREE on them with the date. Please clean and put away dishes promptly to make way for others. Please dispose of all trash --particularly food waste-- properly to avoid attracting bears and other pests.

Beds are already made up, and fresh sheets and towels will be dropped off for guests staying more than seven days, and also after each additional seven-day period. A washer and dryer are located in each cottage. However, due to the severe drought on the mountain this past year, it would be appreciated if visitors could arrange not to have to do laundry during their stay.

Safety and other considerations:

  • Flashlights: Mount Wilson is a wooded site, so it is advised to bring a flashlight. Spare flashlights are kept in the CHARA Office Building; please be sure to return them.
  • Although rare, scorpions have been found, and it is wise to check your shoes before putting them on.
  • For safety reasons, it is OK to drive with headlights on inside the Observatory, but please check with CHARA staff about the protocol for driving by the S1, S2, 60 inch, and 100 inch telescopes.
  • Telephones and wifi are available at both cottages and in the CHARA office building.  The telephones can be used to make calls within the U.S.  Skype is recommended for international calls ( .
  • Note that cell phones do not work reliably past the La Cañada area.
  • In case of an emergency, contact Craig Woods or Steve Golden (626-796-3730).
  • Before leaving for the Observatory, check with the mountain staff or at California Transportation (enter 2 for the Hwy number); in the rare event of a road closing due to forest fires, winter ice and snow, or accident, information is posted at that site.
  • For information on the weather and current conditions, visit the National Weather Service forecast, the Mount Wilson website, and the CHARA Weather page.