Mountain environment

Outside Temperatures

You can expect roughly the following daily minimum and maximum temperatures (degrees F) on the mountain. Of course you can also expect deviations from these means!

Jan. 34 to 49F May 50 to 68F Sep. 57 to 72F
Feb. 33 to 49 June 57 to 74 Oct. 50 to 65
Mar. 36 to 51 Jul. 62 to 79 Nov. 41 to 56
Apr. 41 to 58 Aug. 60 to 75 Dec. 28 to 44

The summit of Kitt Peak has an elevation of 6,875 feet above sea level.

Local Fauna

Coyotes, foxes, deer, coatis, etc., may occasionally be seen around the mountaintop, as a typical Arizona scrub-oak habitat begins a few feet from the road. Experience counsels a few precautions. Please do not attempt to pet or feed any wild animal no matter how friendly. Skunks are rather numerous. Although generally tolerant of astronomers, they do not like to be approached. It is easy to stumble on one at night. To avoid such unpleasant consequences, we require that you carry a flashlight (for detection, not defense). A flashlight will also aid you in spotting other nighttime road hazards such as rattlesnakes. They usually rattle first, but not always. Should the worst happen, shun radical self-help and contact our medical emergency team (contact the Receptionist at 8603 or use the radio patch by dialing 8721). Any suspect snake should be reported to the Observing Assistants or other KPNO staff.

First Aid

If you should injure yourself or become ill, we are prepared to help you. We have employees on Kitt Peak with various levels of medical training. Should an accident occur, or if you feel ill, please call for help on the radio using either a hand-held unit, or the 8721 extension (radio patch), or dial the 8777 emergency number (don't hang up — it will ring phones until someone answers).


There is a large-screen TV equipped with a DVD player in the lounge next to the dining hall (ask an Observing Assistant for access to the film library), two pool tables in the quonset hut near the maintenance area, and exercise rooms are located in Dorm 3 Room 3 and in the 4-meter dome on the U-floor. Paperback books, magazines, and newspapers are available both in the dining hall and reading room/library annex.


Updated on July 7, 2022, 8:38 am