Southwest Adventures

Kitt Peak National Observatory – Southwest Vacations

Explore this world renowned Arizona observatory.

Kitt Peak National Observatory, Southwest VacationsA visit to Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona is an unusual highlight of our southwest vacations. Just the drive up this steep hill, over 6,800 feet, is an experience. With views in every direction far across the Arizona landscape and vegetation that changes as you go up there are many great picture opportunities. Once on top you will be able to view various telescopes- there are 22 optical telescopes, more than anywhere else in the world, several of which you can inspect from inside. Built on Tohono O’odham land in 1958 the observatory specializes in nighttime optical, infrared astronomy and daytime study of the sun.

The observatory has made a number of important scientific advancements. Among these are the worlds first telescope used to search for near-Earth asteroids and calculate the probability of an impact with Earth, advanced studies of dark matter, mapping densities and temperatures of the Milky Way and more- some of which you will learn about on your small group tour.

Solar Telescope, Kitt Peak Observatory

The McMath-Pierce Solar telescope, finished in 1962, is the world’s largest solar telescope. The telescope is used to study the structure of sunspots- areas on the sun that appear dark, have a very active magnetic field and are marked by a lower temperature than surroundings. This solar telescope took some of the first high resolution images of the sun at 1.6 and 10 microns. Other research includes the sun’s structure, the cause of solar corona and viewing comets, solar flares, and planets near the sun. This research is vital to the worlds understanding of the sun and offers one of the most exciting aspects at Kitt Peak Observatory.

Solar Telescope Lenses, Kitt Peak Observatory

Picnic Bench, Southwest Vacations

A picnic on our small group tours at this isolated, soaring point gives you a chance to observe the surrounding landscape. We will all bring a picnic up to this lovely area and spend a leisurely lunch surrounded by this grand view. For those who would like to tour additional telescopes this will provide an opportunity to wander. Around your picnic area you can spot a variety of interesting plant life, including yucca, cactus and ocotillo. From here we will continue on to Tucson, Arizona for the night.

Yucca, Kitt Peak, Southwest Vacations

Organ Pipe Cactus N.M.

Organ Pipe Cactus N.M.

Historic Ajo

Historic Ajo

San-Xavier Mission

San-Xavier Mission

Arizona Southwest Vacations – Read about these attractions, close to Kitt Peak National Observatory, that are also visited on our small group tours.


If you have any questions about our Southwest Vacations adventure tour – please feel free to contact us at Aside from the scheduled tour dates this vacation can also be reserved for your own group as a custom tour.