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Plan Your Visit


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Weather on Kitt Peak

Weather varies with the seasons and temperatures are typically 15 to 20 degrees F (7-10 degrees C) cooler than in Tucson and often windy. Dress appropriately and bring layers of clothing.

Directions

Kitt Peak is located at the end of route 386 on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 54 miles west of Tucson. Coming from Tucson, take route 86 (Ajo Way) west to the junction of 386. Make a left turn at the sign and follow the road to the top of the mountain. Please see the Google map for additional information and directions to Kitt Peak Visitor Center.

The public parking area for both day and evening activities is near the Visitor Center. RVs may not be parked overnight on observatory grounds.

KPNO, Tucson, AZ 85634, USA
Tucson, AZ 85719, USA
Tel: +1 520 318 8726
kpvc@noirlab.edu

Accessibility, Elevation, & Health

Kitt Peak is just shy of 7,000 feet (2096 meters) above sea level at the summit. Please consider any personal health issues that could arise from the altitude or walking at this elevation, such as: decreased lung capacity, cardiac issues, or other issues with altitude. If you have health concerns, please consult your doctor before visiting us.

If you have special physical challenges or limitations, please contact us as far in advance of your visit as possible. The Visitor Center’s ability to provide special accommodations is severely limited. This is particularly true for evening programs. We cannot provide sign language interpreters for nighttime programs. These programs run under extremely dark conditions. For specific accessibility information regarding daytime and evening programs, please refer to those pages.

If You Are Not a US Citizen

Although the Visitor Center is open to all, the US Government requires passports or green cards for visitors from other countries when driving eastbound through the Border Control checkpoint on Arizona State Route 86. Please be sure you bring your passport with you in order to avoid difficulties.

Gas, Lodging, Food, Camping

There are no gas stations, restaurants, or hotels on Kitt Peak. Be sure to have a full tank of gas in your car and bring your lunch if you believe you will get hungry. There are snacks and drinks for sale in the Visitor Center during regular hours of operation. Meals for evening and overnight guests are provided as part of the program. There is no overnight camping near the peak, and no overnight parking on Observatory property.

Fire Danger

Fire is an enormous danger to life and property on this mountain. All smoking is prohibited while on Kitt Peak, both indoors and outdoors. Please report any indications of smoke or fire to any personnel you see so they can take appropriate action. Follow all directions issued to you by Kitt Peak Staff in the event of a fire.

Cell Phones

Cell phone use is prohibited for calls and data transfers. Please place cell phones in “Airplane mode” or turn them off completely while visiting the observatory. Kitt Peak is home to two large, highly sensitive radio telescopes that are performing scientific research 24 hours a day, and the cellular signal can disrupt this research. No Wi-Fi is available.

Tourist & Professional Photography

Visitors are welcome to photograph objects of interest while on the mountain. The Tohono O’Odham people regard the surrounding terrains to be of significant cultural importance and request that visitors refrain from photographing those areas. When in doubt, please ask for assistance.

Watch for Animals & Rocks

Please be on the alert for roaming wildlife and livestock both while driving and during your visit. You might encounter mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, bears, deer, skunks, spiders, and snakes. Do not feed, pet, or otherwise approach or disturb any wildlife as these animals may be dangerous. Report any wildlife sightings to mountain personnel.

Cattle and horses range freely around the lower portions of Arizona State Route 386 and 86 and may cross the road in front of you. Rocks sometimes fall from cliff faces and can be big enough to damage your car. Please be alert at all times and drive at or slower than posted speed limits.

Additional Summit safety

Please read and observe the rest of the recommendations in our Summits Safety Document.