Kitt Peak, AZ | HikeArizona

Kitt Peak, AZ

Guide 16 Triplogs Mine 0 1 Topic
3.5 of 5 
no permit
103 16 1
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 10 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,893 feet
Elevation Gain 3,033 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,513 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4-5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 27.57
 Interest Peak
unreported if dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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18  2022-03-19 DixieFlyer
24  2016-07-09 AZHiker456
11  2016-03-18 afrankie
15  2015-05-09 Jim_H
9  2014-11-23 JuanJaimeiii
10  2013-02-02 cindyl
7  2009-04-28 thruhiker
9  2009-04-27 Davis2001r6
Page 1,  2
author avatar Guides 6
Routes 40
Photos 887
Trips 214 map ( 2,190 miles )
Age 41 Male Gender
Location Bordeaux, France
Associated Areas
list map done
Tucson Region
Historical Weather
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Preferred Aug, Jun, Sep, Jul → Early
Seasons   Late Summer to Early Spring
Sun  6:47am - 6:29pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Nearby Area Water
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Fauna  Nearby
Flora  Nearby
Named place  Nearby
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Why drive when you can hike?
by Davis2001r6

If you've driven west on AZ-86 out of Tucson, you've probably seen Kitt Peak off the side with all the observatories on top. The peak falls on the Tohono O'odham Nation grounds. There is a road you can drive up Kitt, but why drive when you can hike. There an old Jeep road that you can take that will get you to the top as well. It's marked for Emergency use only, so don't plan on driving it or seeing other people along the way.
The road is clear from the parking area and has a nice steady grade on the way up. The average grade is 13%, so it's enough to get your heart beating, not to make you want to turn around. There is plenty of cactus and nice views along the way. To the South, you have a great view of Baboquivari Peak.

Near the top, you will begin seeing the observatory. The observatory is considered to be part of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), although some of the telescopes located here, like those at the MDM Observatory, belong to other groups such as the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory. With 23 telescopes, it is the largest, most diverse gathering of astronomical instruments in the world.

Once near the top, you'll hit the main road. Just head a couple hundred yards up and another short scramble, and you'll be on top. The hike was shielded nicely from the wind, but it wasn't up top. There is a small antenna up and a peak register in a can.

Overall it's a nice little hike that still gets you 3k' feet of gain with relative ease, as you are just walking a dirt road. There is no water anywhere on the hike so bring your own.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2009-04-27 Davis2001r6
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

     Permit $$

    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Take I-10 South out of Phoenix. Once in Tucson merge onto I-19 South, go 1.5 miles, and head West on Ajo Way/AZ-86. Take that 38.7 miles to the turnoff for Kitt Peak AZ 386 turn left (South), head 2 miles and there the main road will curve to the right, head straight here onto a dirt road. Take that another mile or so to a clearing/pit and park there.
    page created by Davis2001r6 on Apr 27 2009 11:14 am

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