Mount Lemmon Recreation Area

Mount Lemmon Recreation Area parking area. October 2013.
Mount Lemmon Recreation Area parking area. October 2013.

Overview

Location

Driving Time and Distance

  • 1 hour and 25 minutes from Speedway and Campbell
  • 41.6 miles from Speedway and Campbell
  • Miles up Highway: 27.7 miles
  • Side of the Highway: Down-mountain
  • Vehicle Access: Paved Roads/Passenger Car (Mountain Road - be careful of weather conditions!). Closed to motor vehicles in winter (December 15 to March 1 - dates subject to change depending on weather/conditions).

Fees and Services

Additional Notes

  • The final 1.7 miles of the drive to this trailhead are closed to motor vehicles in winter (December 15 to March 1 - dates subject to change depending on weather/conditions) - while the road is still open to non-motorized travel consider accessing this area via Summerhaven and the Aspen Draw Trail or from the Mint Spring Trailhead and the Mint Spring Trail/Aspen Trail.
  • The Summit Trailhead 0.2 miles down the road does not offer a restroom or picnic area and there is no fee to park in that area.

If you are curious about the fenced off area at the top of the mountain the University of Arizona SkyCenter runs programs inside the Mount Lemon Observatory Area.

Mount Lemmon Recreation Area Sign - the (closed/locked) gate to the facilities at the top of the mountain are visible on the left. August 2017.
Mount Lemmon Recreation Area Sign - the (closed/locked) gate to the facilities at the top of the mountain are visible on the left. August 2017.
Snow! December 2013.
Snow! December 2013.

Driving Directions

Google Maps Directions from the Speedway and Campbell intersection in Tucson to Mount Lemmon Recreation Area.

Quick version:

  • Drive East on Speedway (5.0 miles)
  • Left on Wilmot and continue on Tanque Verde (4.3 miles)
  • Left on Catalina Highway (29.1 miles)
  • Turn right on Ski Run Road (2.7 miles). Note that 1.4 miles up Ski Run Road at Ski Valley and the Iron Door Restaurant there is a gate that is closed seasonally that blocks the last 1.7 miles of the road (Lemmon Rock Road) - when the gate is closed foot traffic up the road is still allowed but consider using the Aspen Draw Trail to access this area (it won't save you time compared to walking the road but has good parking in Summerhaven and is very beautiful!)
  • Continue 0.2 miles past the Summit Trailhead (a gravel parking area on the down-mountain side of the road) to the Mount Lemmon Recreation Area. The trailhead is near a fenced in power station - there is a (normally) closed gate into the Mount Lemon Observatory Area just after the turn for the trailhead - if you drive into the fenced in Mount Lemon Observatory Area you have gone too far...

All Trailheads - Map

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Santa Catalina Mountains - Trailheads

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Agua Caliente Hill South Trailhead: 32.274321, -110.712042
American Flag Trailhead: 32.580837, -110.720361
Avenida de Suzenu Trailhead: 32.298201, -110.730737
Babad Do\'ag Observation Site and Trailhead Parking: 32.309311, -110.720727
Bear Canyon Trailhead: 32.300779, -110.802350
Bigelow Trailhead: 32.409781, -110.713268
Box Camp Trailhead: 32.419668, -110.739977
Bug Spring Trailhead: 32.345101, -110.718245
Upper Butterfly Trailhead: 32.427277, -110.740810
Catalina State Park Trailhead: 32.425211, -110.908883
Charouleau Gap Trailhead: 32.520380, -110.884755
Davis Spring Trailhead: 32.457276, -110.637932
Golder Ranch Road Parking Area: 32.474823, -110.892434
Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site End of the Road Parking Circle: 32.336230, -110.719862
Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site Upper Parking Area: 32.339662, -110.717267
Hairpin Turn: 32.311623, -110.742468
Incinerator Ridge Parking Area: 32.411710, -110.705315
Iris Dewhirst Pima Canyon Trailhead: 32.353367, -110.948284
Linda Vista Trailhead: 32.380712, -110.961143
Lizard Rock Parking Pullout: 32.382799, -110.694588
Lower Green Mountain Trailhead: 32.374255, -110.690398
Marshall Gulch Trailhead: 32.428054, -110.755743
Milepost 0: 32.304094, -110.745165
Mint Spring Trailhead: 32.440167, -110.766155
Molino Basin Parking Area: 32.337338, -110.690988
Mount Bigelow Butterfly Trailhead: 32.415841, -110.714039
Oracle Ridge Trailhead: 32.451491, -110.754335
Palisade Trailhead: 32.407339, -110.719898
Red Ridge Trailhead: 32.448284, -110.769479
Richard McKee Finger Rock Trailhead: 32.336174, -110.910111
Ridgeline Parking Pullout: 32.405573, -110.699480
Sabino Canyon Visitor Center: 32.309540, -110.823065
San Pedro Vista: 32.400287, -110.690083
Soldier Trail Trailhead: 32.308865, -110.735603
Mount Lemmon Recreation Area: 32.440483, -110.785733
Sunset Trailhead: 32.427543, -110.741826
Upper Green Mountain Trailhead: 32.397796, -110.689435
Ventana Canyon Trailhead: 32.327884, -110.852938
Lower Oracle Ridge Trailhead: 32.604757, -110.757670
Italian Spring Trailhead: 32.306189, -110.574231
The Lake Trailhead: 32.321015, -110.620599
Summit Trailheads: 32.441073, -110.783767
Redington Pass Backcountry Touring Area: 32.306522, -110.609590

Update Notes

  • 2017/9/2 – Added a picture of the MLRA road sign that shows the gate in the background
  • 2017/8/7 – Created, see the update notes in the Mount Lemmon Recreation Area for some notes about why this is