Palomar Mountain Observatory
35899 Canfield Road, Palomar
Palomar, which means Pigeon Haven in La Jolla Indian dialect, is not an outing for those prone to carsickness. Once you exit I-15, curves are the norm. But the drive up through the Pala and Pauma Valleys is a blend of agricultural and natural beauty. And on the way up the switchbacks of the mountain, you'll see a mix of Engelmann, black, and live oaks that eventually give way to coulter, ponderosa, and lodge pole pines. The mountain meadow where the observatory sits is at 5500 feet elevation. The domed structure looks whiter than white against the blue sky. Posters and graphic displays in the viewing area tell the story of the observatory.