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The Dish status: Open


Wildfire Smoke Affecting Air Quality (Updated 9/20/23): According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Poor Air Quality is monitored by The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) in partnership with The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and issues daily air quality forecast guidance as part of a national Air Quality Forecasting Capability. Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) monitors poor quality index on AirNow. Poor Air Quality notifications will be posted at The Dish entrances if Air Quality Index reaches 151+. The Dish Status is currently OPEN.


Why fire fuels treatments? The ecosystems at the Stanford Dish, like many of California’s ecosystems, have experienced decades of fire suppression.  Tree thinning, tree trimming, and shrub removal can mimic the effects of fire and help to maintain native grasslands and create sufficient spacing between trees so that individual trees can thrive.

Why do we leave large logs on the ground? Large logs laying on the ground create refuge from predators and maintain micro-climates that support a diverse set of native species including amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, and insects. Large logs laying on the ground pose minimal fire risk.

Why do we leave standing snags? Dead oak snags provide habitat for a host of native species. Native birds and small mammals’ nest in the cavities found in dead oaks.  Acorn woodpeckers embed acorns methodically in oak “granaries” so they can store and eat the acorns when other food sources are scarce.  

COYOTE ALERT: There has been recent coyote activity in this area. Please be mindful of your surroundings. Report sightings to Stanford University Public Safety Office at (650)724-7441.

September Public Access Hours: 6:30am-7:00pm


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The Dish is a special area to both Stanford and the surrounding communities, and it serves many purposes.


Academic programs – The Dish itself is a radio telescope that is still in use. Other research and teaching programs also use the dish area.

University Support Facilities – In order to support academic, environment, habitat, and recreational services, support from our facility shops are necessary. Services include maintenance to water storage, pump stations, road maintenance, grounds, and other required facility services. Please yield to service vehicles as they pass.

Environmental Restoration – Stanford's Conservation Program is directing a program of environmental restoration in the dish area, which includes use of native grasses and other plants.

Habitat Conservation – Portions of the dish area are devoted to special efforts to enhance habitat for the California tiger salamander, including the development of new breeding ponds.

Recreation – The Dish is a popular area for hiking and jogging and is open to the public from approximately sunrise to sunset throughout the year.

The Dish at sunset

Public Access Hours

January: 6:30am - 5:00pm 

February: 6:30am - 5:30pm

March: 6:00am - 6:30pm

April-August: 6:00am - 7:30pm

September: 6:30am - 7:00pm

October: 6:30am - 6:00pm

November-December 6:30am-5:00pm

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