VIP2 Road to the top of Kitt Peak

Now an easy drive for passenger cars, no such summit road existed in 1956 for scientists who conducted site tests for the country's first National Observatory. Truck access during the early years of telescope construction was funded by Pima County, and consisted of bulldozing a trail from the mountain's base at Alambre Valley to the summit.

This proved to be a dangerous route even during favorable weather. In 1959, a contract was let for new access road construction, and in 1963, Kitt Peak's new highway, State Route 386, was opened for public use. The 12-mile journey from base to summit includes grades to 6 percent, a breezy drive indeed, considering the old access road's steep grade but don't be lulled into complacency; road crews keep busy clearing away rock that falls onto narrow stretches and blind curves.

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