Summit Trailhead

The Summit Trailhead parking is the gravel area on the left. August 2017.
The Summit Trailhead parking is the gravel area on the left. August 2017.

Overview

Location

Driving Time and Distance

  • 1 hour and 25 minutes from Speedway and Campbell
  • 41.4 miles from Speedway and Campbell
  • Miles up Highway: 27.5 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

  • Fee: No
  • Restrooms: No
  • Water: No

Additional Notes

  • The final 1.5 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 0.2 miles up the road is the Mount Lemmon Recreation Area - which, unlike this trailhead, is a fee area and does have restrooms, picnic benches and trashcans.

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.

Driving Directions

Google Maps Directions from the Speedway and Campbell intersection in Tucson to Summit Trailhead.

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!)
  • The trailhead is a large unsigned gravel parking area on the down-mountain side of the road. At the corner of the parking area a road (closed to vehicles) leads out to the Aspen Trail. Near upper edge of the parking area a trail marker will help you find a short trail to the Mount Lemmon Recreation Area for access to the Meadow Trail, Lemmon Rock Trail and Mount Lemmon Trail.

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

  • 2018/8/26 – Main image added
  • 2017/8/7 – Img Srcset update, split this and the Mount Lemmon Recreation Area into different pages (the backstory here is that several years ago the Forest Service added picnic benches to the top of the mountain trailhead where ‘everyone’ parked (I think ‘Summit Trailhead’ may not have been a completely official name but everyone understood) and it is now a fee area called the ‘Mount Lemmon Recreation Area’. Along with that they have now signed the gravel area that this page covers as the ‘Summit Trailheads’ where you can park without paying a fee. In addition to leaving no-fee parking for users who just want to park off the side of the road and hit the trail this is also probably a useful change just to provide more official parking at the top of the mountain since for years the Summit Parking was overflowing on popular summer weekends!