Kitt Peak National Observatory is closed to visitors

We’re aware that many people are eager to come visit Kitt Peak by car, bicycles or even on foot. The public Arizona State Route 386 up to Kitt Peak National Observatory is still closed by ADOT while it makes necessary repairs to the road and guard rails after damage from the Contreras Fire. For this reason, all public programs and tours, including online workshops, at KPNO are suspended due to the effects of the Contreras Fire on the site. 

Arizona State Route 386 up to KPNO remains closed to the public. Do not travel up this road for any reason or by any means. Access is limited only to staff and contractors due to safety concerns related to missing road guardrails, rapidly occurring rainfalls, and fire debris runoff during the monsoon season. 

Together with the Arizona Department of Transportation we continue to work to make the site safe so public visits can restart. We hope to have news about the reopening of the visits in December 2022. Please revisit this website periodically for updates.

Youth Group Overnight

Welcome to the reservation page for the Youth Group Overnight (YGO). 

Treat your youth group to an unforgettable night of stargazing at Kitt Peak.  First, participate in the Nightly Observing Program (NOP) where you’ll learn the night sky with planispheres and binoculars, and spend an hour at the telescope, observing spectacular deep-sky objects.  When the other guests depart, your group may continue to use the telescope for as long as they can stay awake.  Our team will gladly help personalize your program according to your group’s needs and interests, whether they involve observing certain types of objects or working on astronomy badges for Scouts.  You can even add on astrophotography and create some truly incredible souvenir photos.  When it’s time to sleep, the group will use their own bedding to camp out in the visitor center, with staff in rooms nearby.  At least two adults must accompany the group throughout the night.

In the morning, your group will assist in organizing the visitor center in time for its opening at 9:00 A.M.  When they leave the group will take with them memories of an amazing night of astronomy at Kitt Peak National Observatory.


Nightly Observing Program:       $50/person up to 15 guests

                                                          $43/person for 16 to 25 guests

Overnight use of telescope:        $500

Astrophotography add-on:         $150 


For program availability, please submit your group size, two dates for your program, and any special program requests to Robert Wilson at  Once availability has been confirmed, you will receive instructions for completing your reservation.  Please try to book at least two months in advance.


The visitor center must be notified no less than forty-eight hours in advance of changes to your group’s size.  Changes to your meal request, included in the price of the NOP, must be made no less than twenty-four hours in advance.

Credit Card

A credit card is required to hold your reservation but will not be charged prior to the program.  Payment in full will be made upon your arrival at the Visitor Center and must be a single payment for the group.  We cannot accept purchase orders.  Checks should be made payable to AURA.  No-shows and cancellations less than ten days prior to the program will be charged a fee equal to fifty percent of the total program cost, the exception being cancellations by us because of hazardous conditions.

How to dress

Bring warm clothing.  It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.  You will spend much of your time outside.  Temperatures on Kitt Peak are often 15 to 20 degrees cooler than temperatures in Tucson. 


The program includes a light meal, and you may choose either a turkey (regular) or vegetarian sandwich.  If you have dietary restrictions, you are welcome to bring your own meal.  The kitchen cannot guarantee gluten free, allergen free, or otherwise specially prepared meals.  The program fee is the same in either case.  Groups are encouraged to bring snacks and may eat a quick breakfast on the visitor-center patio prior to leaving.

Program Status

All nighttime programs at Kitt Peak are weather dependent.  Please be available for a phone call at about noon on the day of the program.  We will inform you of the status of the program for that evening, based on the forecasts available at the time of the call.  Staff will discuss your options at that time in the event of unfavorable weather conditions.

All Rights Reserved