Kitt Peak Observatory

Kitt Peak Observatory

The Kitt Peak Experience… Like no other


Hours of Operation

Kitt Peak is open daily from 9am to 4pm. The visitor center closes at 4 p.m. Grounds close promptly at 4.

The Kitt Peak Visitor Center is CLOSED: New Years Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day only.

Mountain Information

Kitt Peak is at an elevation of 6,875 feet above sea level. Mountain temps vary considerably from the desert floor by 15 to 20 degrees and it is often windy, so please dress warmly. For your comfort, the visitor center is heated and cooled during the summer.

Those visiting at night for the Nightly Observing Program please be advised that the conditions especially in the winter require you to wear hats and gloves. Please feel free to bring a blanket as most of the program occurs outdoors in a non-heated observatory.

The Drive up

The drive up the mountain is all on paved roads at a constant grade with guardrails in most places. The 12 mile drive takes you through some of the nicest scenery the Sonoran desert has to offer. There are plenty of pullouts to take photos if you so wish. Please follow the speed limit and watch for road hazards such as rocks or wildlife. The road is maintained by the State of Arizona and is on tribal lands. Any other activities outside of driving and taking photos must be approved by the Tribal Administration Office in Sells and may require a permit 520-383-2028.

Allow 90-minutes of driving time from downtown Tucson.

Picnic Area

The picnic area is open from 10am to 4Pm and is located about 1 mile from the summit. The area needs to be reserved for large groups by calling 520-318-8600. Facilities include a ramada, restrooms, picnic tables and water. There are also picnic tables found on the summit for the general public to use. No open fires of any kind are allowed. The area is closed from time to time for maintenance and high fire danger. When planning your visit always call ahead to see if the facility is open. There are no cooking facilities found at the picnic area


There is ample parking for cars and RV’s and busses.

Guided Tours

The Kitt Peak Visitor Center offers three guided tours each day. Each tour lasts approximately one hour. The tours begin in the Visitor Center.

A self-guided walking tour map is available in the Visitor Center.


There are no services found on Kitt Peak. The closest gas can be obtained at the Coyote Store 16 miles from the summit on state route 86. A pay phone, public restroom, and number of water fountains are located on the summit.

Food & Refreshment

Snacks and beverages may be purchased at the Visitor Center. There are no food services found on the mountain. Feel free to pack a lunch since there are plenty of picnic tables on the summit and a picnic grounds 2 miles away.


The visitor center gift shop houses a wide selection of Tohono O’Odham baskets and crafts at excellent prices. We also have a large assortment of Astronomical items, books, images and souvenirs.


Dogs are allowed as long as they are leashed. Please pick up after your pet. Only service animals are permitted in the buildings.

Health Warning

Persons with cardiac, respiratory, or other altitude related concerns should take proper precautions. A First Aid station is available at the Visitor Center.


The visitor center staff will do its best to provide reasonable accessibility to all requesting it. However, many of the telescopes are not accessible by wheel chair. Those wishing to drive to the different telescopes may do so by requesting a special permit which can be provided by visitor center staff. An accessible restroom can be found in the visitor center. The visitor center has two wheel chairs for public use.

Cell Phones

The use of cell phones on the mountain top is prohibited. Cell phones interfere with the two radio telescopes found on Kitt Peak

Fire Danger

Due to the continuing drought in Arizona, all smoking on the mountain has been banned. You are allowed to smoke in your vehicles. Please extinguish your smoking material in your ashtray.


Firearms are not allowed on federal facilities. 

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Contact Information

Photo of Michelle Metcalf CRS, SRES®, REALTOR®, Associate B Real Estate
Michelle Metcalf CRS, SRES®, REALTOR®, Associate B
RE/MAX Valley Properties
210 W. Continental Rd. #220
Green Valley AZ 85622
Mobile: (520)400-5735
Fax: (520)648-2221