Getting to and from KPNO

Transportation To Kitt Peak:

Shuttle reservations to the mountain should be made during normal workday hours. Contact the Kitt Peak Support Office at (520) 318-8279 between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, local time, Monday-Friday. You can also send shuttle reservations via email to:

Motor Vehicle Operator's ID Application

Everyone who drives a Government-owned vehicle must be carrying a current Motor Vehicle Operator's Identification card (formerly GSA license), in addition to a valid license from their state, territory, or country. This applies, for example, if you need to make trips between Tucson and the mountain at odd hours, or if you need a mountain vehicle to drive up the 4-meter hill. Please fill out the application (if you do not have a current one.) License applications go through the Kitt Peak Support Office downtown. Once a license is issued, it is good for the same period of the individual's U.S. or international driver's license (up to a maximum of 4 years).

Vehicles depart promptly as scheduled from the maintenance yard of the NOIRLab headquarters building. If you are arriving on a weekend or after-hours, notify security to let you into the building by using the handset at the main entrance. Tell the security guard that you have previously made reservations to take the scheduled vehicle to Kitt Peak. Security will then assign the car keys to you. Prior to your departure, we encourage you to read the NOIRLab Travel Safety Info/Tips card on the sun visor in each of our vehicles.

Upon arrival at Kitt Peak, the driver must deposit the car keys in the drop box located in the Administration Building or hand them to the Mountain Receptionist. If a vehicle is needed for mountain use, you may sign out a mountain vehicle in the Administration Building. Mountain vehicle keys are located on a board near the Mountain Receptionist area.

Returning to Tucson:

Monday through Friday, shuttle reservations from the mountain back to Tucson must be made on the sign-up sheet located near the Mountain Receptionist in the Administration Building. You should be prepared to drive the vehicle downtown as a driver may not always be available. If you do not have a GSA driver's license, please make travel plans that allow you to be flexible about returning to Tucson on the first available shuttle. If you need a shuttle over the weekend, please see the receptionist on Friday to ensure that there will be a vehicle for you. In case of emergency, an Observing Tech may find transportation for you.

Upon arrival to the NOIRLab headquarters office in Tucson, the driver should return the vehicle to the maintenance yard located on Warren Avenue, directly in back of the building. During off hours, the back gate of the maintenance yard is locked. You can radio security to open the gate for you by tuning in your radio to Channel 3 (Tucson channel). Please allow sufficient time for the security officer to respond. If you do not get a response, go to the front of the building and use the telephone handset located inside the gray metal box to the right of the front double doors to call the security officer. The security officer will then open the gate. After you park the car, give the car keys to the security officer.

Prior to departing each site, it is the responsibility of the driver to become familiar with the vehicle, check the fuel level, and ensure the mobile radio is on and turned to Kitt Peak Channel 2, or Tucson Channel 3, frequencies. If you have any questions about the vehicle, please ask someone before you depart. If there are any vehicle problems, they should be reported on the performance trouble report located in the vehicle glove box and near the key drop box at Kitt Peak or Tucson Operations


Shuttle Schedule


Updated on June 30, 2022, 1:31 pm