Harlan J. Smith Telescope


This Telescope is one of the first you will see on the scenic drive up Highway 118.  Completed in 1968 with the help of NASA for a cost of $5 million, it was then the third largest in the world.  One of the interesting projects it was involved in was using a laser to measure the distance to the moon by reflecting light off of mirrors left on the moon by Apollo Astronauts.  The tour takes you up the mountain and provides a walk through of the telescope, and a display of its history and powers.






Frank N. Bash Visitors Center


Prepare yourself for tons of photos from McDonald Observatory.  It all begins at the Visitor Center just off of Highway 118 and north of a beautiful drive through Davis Mountains State Park.  If nothing else, this is a wonderful pit stop with awesome views and even a nice cafe to grab a bite to eat and a refreshing beverage.  From here you can get all the information you need and sign up for a tour of the facilities.