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

Group Information

Groups are welcome, free of charge, to visit the visitor center during regular open hours. If you’re planning to visit in a group, please notify us in advance so we can better assist with your visit. E-mail giftshop@ucolick.org for more information.

Private group tours and events are available.  Please refer to the private event page to get more information on how to book a private tour or event and the associated fees.

We recommend that groups of 20-25 people use a small shuttle bus for transport up to Mt. Hamilton. Large buses are not recommended on Mt Hamilton Road or San Antonio Valley Road, as it is very difficult to navigate some of the tight turns.

Shuttle bus companies:

Black Tie (out of Pleasanton)
Dscoach (out of SF)
Mercury tours (out of SF)
El Paseo Limo (out of San Jose)

General Information

Restroom Access:

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

Refreshments:

During open hours, refreshments and snacks are available in the gift shop. There are also vending machines and a water fountain located on the north side of the main building.

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.

Car Club or Motorcycle Group Information

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

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

Please take extra precautions (particularly motorcyclists) because there is often sand, gravel, or fallen rocks on the road, making for dangerous conditions. Please drive or ride carefully.

Bicyclist Information

If you are planning an extended ride and wish to use Lick Observatory as a planned rest/refreshment stop. Please refer to private events for information on how to reserve space for your group.

It can be very hot on Mount Hamilton during the summer days and cool down very quickly after dark. Inclement weather can make it very cold and windy on Mount Hamilton at any time of year. Please prepare appropriately for the variable, and often unpredictable, weather conditions.

The road often has loose gravel, sand, or fallen rocks, so please ride carefully.