Optical spectroscopy is being used increasingly in medical applications to noninvasively investigate tissues below the skin. In order to assure adequate sampling of tissues underlying the skin, photon penetration depth must be known. Photon penetration in tissues has been studied with near-infrared (NIR) light, but experimental study of visible light propagation in tissue has been limited. In this study, a micro-motion system coupled with a reflectance spectroscopy system was used to determine the penetration depth of visible-range and NIR photons (535-800 nm) in phantoms composed of Intralipid and hemoglobin. An absorbing target was placed at intervals of 0.1mm along a 15mm line perpendicular to and bisecting the line between the ends of the source and detector optical fiber bundles. Comparisons between detected light intensities at different target positions were used to determine the most probable photon path depths at 576 nm and at 760 nm. Scattering coefficients, hemoglobin concentrations, and source-detector separations were varied to evaluate their effects on the penetration depth of photons. Results from phantoms containing Intralipid only showed that the most-probable penetration depth at 576 nm was comparable to that at 760 nm. Larger sourcedetector separations resulted in deeper photon penetration depths for both spectral regions. Changes in scattering over a 4-fold range did not affect the photon path depth appreciably. In the presence of hemoglobin with a source-detector separation of 13 mm, the most probable depth of photon penetration in the visible range was greater than 2.5 mm, and was within 1 mm of the most probable depth of photon penetration in the NIR. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using the visible and NIR regions in transcutaneous reflectance spectroscopy.