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 radiotelescope that is still in use. Other research and teaching programs also use the dish area.
- Environmental Restoration – Stanford's Conservation Biology 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 will be 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 recreational area for hiking and jogging and is open to the public from approximately sunrise to sunset throughout the year.
The Stanford Dish area is open to recreational visitors the following hours:
January: 6:30 am - 4:45 pm
February: 6:30 am - 5:30 pm
March: 6:00 am - 6:30 pm
April – August: 6:00 am - 7:30 pm
September: 6:30 am - 7:00 pm
October: 6:30 am - 6:00 pm
November – December: 6:30 am - 5:00 pm
The schedule is adjusted monthly to closely match sunrise and sunset.