Accommodation at KPNO

Dormitory Reservations

If you have properly completed and provided to us your Observing Run Preparation Form, you will have reservations on the mountain. If your arrival on the mountain will be delayed, please contact us. There are a limited number of dorm rooms, and we have reserved your room for the arrival date you indicated on your Observing Run Preparation Form. You may cancel your room reservation at no charge, up to 24 hours prior to your arrival date by contacting the Kitt Peak Administrative Assistant Bellina Lopez, at 520-318-8603, or via email at or

When You Arrive At The Mountain

Please check in at the Administration Building prior to 3:30 pm; the Administrative Assistant will be expecting you. When you check in, you will be given a dormitory room key and a key which will allow you to access all the necessary buildings. If there is a problem with your room, see the Administrative Assistant to resolve it. Please do not change your room without consulting the Administrative Assistant or the Observing Assistant on duty. A security gate has been installed at the Reception area in the Administration Building on the Mountain in order to limit access during off-hours. Observers who need to obtain room keys during off-hours will need to radio an Observing Assistant (OA) for assistance. There is a sign posted on the gate indicating the proper procedure.

Travel Reimbursement for Graduate Students

For approved thesis projects, NOIRLab will fully reimburse graduate students for their economy-class, roundtrip airfare to Tucson (or its equivalent if ground transportation is used). This can be handled at the Kitt Peak Support Office in Tucson when you arrive or by the Receptionist on the mountain during your stay there. We will ask for the original receipt of your airline ticket or to be supplied with alternative appropriate information. You (or your organization) should receive reimbursement in three to four weeks. On Kitt Peak, NOIRLab will provide all meals and dorm room to the graduate student. Additionally, NOIRLab will pay for one night's hotel stay at the Aloft Tucson University Hotel before the grad student's run begins. Meals in Tucson are the responsibility of the grad student.

This policy normally applies only to graduate students affiliated with U.S. institutions, whose travel originates in the United States, and whose thesis project was approved by the KPNO Telescope Allocation Committee.

The Nitty-Gritty of $$$

Unless you are exempted by policy, charges are due and payable before your departure. All amounts due from visiting observers for meals, lodging, or other charges will no longer be billed. All charges will be invoiced.


Rates Starting April 1, 2018
DORMITORY ROOMS (price includes all meals)
Single Occupancy $95.00
Double Occupancy $75.00 per person

Checkout Time is 2:00 pm. If you are not checked out by this time, you will be charged for an additional day.


*Serve-yourself breakfast items are available in the kitchen snack bar area 24 hours a day.

**Night lunch items are available in a refrigerator in the Dining Room. If you wish to have an individually prepared night lunch, you will need to follow the instructions in your confirmation email by 11:00 am the same day you wish to have it prepared! Your night lunch will be marked with your name and placed in the refrigerator.

If your sleeping schedule does not conform to these times, you can get coffee and snacks in the dining room at any hour. If you have dietary restrictions, please notify us ahead of time on the Observing Run Preparation Form on-line.


A coin-operated washer and dryer are available for use on the mountain. A coin-operated laundry soap dispenser and a change machine is located at the washer. Machines are located in the quonset hut next to the maintenance area.

Personal Needs

There is no commissary, so come supplied with all personal items such as toothpaste, deodorant, medications, etc. No alcoholic beverages are allowed on the Tohono O'odham Reservation.


A copier is available in the Administration Building.



For Mountain and NOIRLab Tucson office calls, note the instructions near the phone.

Mountain Vehicles

Some observers may require a vehicle on the mountain (for example, those who are observing at the 4-meter or who need to move equipment). If you need a car, you can sign one out in the Administration Building. Please keep in mind that these vehicles are for mountaintop use and are not to be driven downtown without making special arrangements. (NOTE: You will need a GSA drivers license.) There are a limited number of vehicles available, and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Please turn in your keys each morning!


Updated on February 15, 2023, 12:11 pm