Mount Lemmon

Explore Southern Arizona’s sky islands in Coronado National Forest.

Mount Lemmon is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains, topping out at more than 9,000 feet. Visit this mountain retreat to cool off in the warmer months and to enjoy a snowy playground in winter. Download the Mt. Lemmon Science Tour app for a narrated guide to the top of 26-mile Sky Island Scenic Byway, with suggested vista stops along the way. Top cyclists from around the world come here to train on one of the best tests of climbing and descending in the country. Take the drive slowly, especially in areas with tight switchbacks, to give cyclists plenty of room.

Hiking & Mountain Biking

At the base of the Santa Catalinas, hiking trails lead through the lush Sonoran Desert. As the elevation increases up the mountain, trails climb through rocky outcroppings and ultimately dense pine forests. On the Aspen Trail, a 4-mile loop accessed at the Marshall Gulch Picnic Area, enjoy a gentle climb with many scenic viewpoints. For a short and easy hike for families, the Meadow Trail is just under two miles out and back from Ski Valley. Longer, quad-busting mountain biking trails include the swift and flowy Aspen Draw that ends in Summerhaven and the white-knuckle Kellog/Incinerator Ridge trails that navigates rocky terrain and tight switchbacks.

Rock Climbing

With more than 2,500 established routes, Mount Lemmon is one of the most developed and popular rock-climbing areas in Arizona. Visitors find crags to climb at elevations from 2,500 feet in the foothills to more than 9,000 feet at the highest summits, making this a year-round destination for traditional crack climbs, bolted sport climbs and bouldering. Beginners can join an expedition with local outfitters while experienced climbers can test their mettle on gravity-defying granite slabs. The pinnacles at Windy Point, located directly off Catalina Highway, attract onlookers who admire the climbers’ skill and bravery.

Summerhaven & Ski Valley

Visitors are surprised to find a city atop Mount Lemmon, a charmer shaded by pines at 8,000 feet. Summerhaven offers rental cabins plus a general store and a handful of places to eat and mingle with locals. Ski Valley, the southernmost ski resort in the continental U.S., is another of Arizona’s best-kept secrets. Skiers play on more than 20 trails that range from green circle to black diamond. During the warmer months, the ski lift carries nature lovers to some of the best viewpoints in Arizona.

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