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Kitt Peak, AZ

no permit
85 14 1
Guide 14 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson SW
3.4 of 5 by 5
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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
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Collective Slideshow
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
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Aug, Jun, Sep, Jul → Early
Seasons   Late Summer to Early Spring
Sun  7:26am - 5:50pm
Route Scout App
Official Route
0 Alternative
Nearby Area Water
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[ View More! ]
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
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 Baboquvari.

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.

    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 $$

    Map Drive
    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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