Owens Lake Land Observatory

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The CLUI Owens Lake Land Observatory is an interpretive facility on the edge of Owens Lake, in California’s Eastern Sierras. Unlike other observatories, which examine the sky from the land, this facility examines the land from above, presenting views, objects, and forms not immediately apparent from the ground. 

The Land Observatory is based in the Owens Valley in order to explore the visual characteristics and phenomenology of the region, especially Owens Lake itself, which is a new landscape, engineered to control the effects of desiccation. The technologies being employed here by water managers on the lake surface produce a new vocabulary of terrestrial structures and effects that are in many ways unique, and on the vanguard of future mitigations, seeking to manage the results of human interaction with terrain on a local and global scale.


The Owens Lake Land Observatory is open seasonally for scheduled programs.

Winter 2022 Season
February 12–March 13, 2022
Open 12 to 5 PM, Saturdays and Sundays
Admission is free
Location: Swansea, California, on Highway 136, four miles north of Keeler, and approximately 200 miles north of Los Angeles. 

Also on site: Alexander Robinson's Landscape Morphology Lab field unit