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Ski Mount Lemmon – Desert to Ski Slopes in an Hour

Nov, 20 || 2 Comments | Tags: , , ,

Tom and I decided that before we leave southern Arizona that we’d do a little round of some of our favorite places. We love what there is here in our neck of the woods just as much as we love what’s on the other side of the rainbow. We’re planning to visit places like Tombstone, Bisbee, Mount Lemmon and whatever else we can squeeze in before we board that cruise ship on December 4. So to begin with, we made our way up Mount Lemmon.

Mount Lemmon

On one of the switchbacks you can see the road twisting around a curve below.

Mount Lemmon is located in the Santa Catalina mountains, to the northwest of the Tucson basin. You can find the road to the top by turning left off Tanque Verde Road onto Catalina Highway, then simply following it up to the peak. Another way to get there is by traveling north on Houghton Road and turning right when you reach Catalina Highway.

Mount Lemmon is one of those places that Tom adores. In Tucson, he can go to a dozen places around town and enjoy himself at any one of them, but the one that’s always right around the top of the list is Mount Lemmon.

I don’t know if it’s the exhilaration of the dizzying heights as you whirl around those hairpin curves on the way up (or down) the mountainside, or the sight of the wide open spaces when you look out over the valley below. It might be that, or a dozen other things.

I know for me, it’s the peace and quiet of the place. When we spend an hour to drive that twenty-seven miles to the top, it’s like we’ve left the madness of our daily lives and retreated into a sort of nirvana. Sometimes I imagine I’m a hawk, circling lazily above the mundane existence below.

Mount Lemmon has a lot going for it. There are campgrounds at various spots on the way up the mountain. Or you can choose any one of quite a number of trailheads and hike your way uphill, or down, to the peace you seek.

Rose Canyon Lake can be found by taking one of the side roads off the main Mount Lemmon road. It’s a seven-acre lake stocked at various times throughout the year with fish for anglers to enjoy catching. The Arizona Game and Fish Department provides this short video to show what Rose Canyon Lake looks like.

At the top is Summerhaven, a little village of getaway cabins and ski rentals. You can buy property there, or rent a cabin for a day or longer to take advantage of the ski season. Many Tucson visitors are surprised to discover that in about an hour you can be at the top of Mount Lemmon, skiing.

If you go to Mount Lemmon, one thing to remember is that after a snowfall the authorities won’t allow you to drive up the mountain if you don’t have chains. The roads can be slippery and dangerous, so take their advice and strap on those chains. And bring your skis.

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2 Comments

  1. Looks like a great place to visit on a trip to Arizona!
    Jessica | Independent Travel Cats recently Articleed…Secret Sweater: A Perfect Travel Accessory for Women who Layer their ClothingMy Profile

  2. noel says:

    It sounds like a wonderful place to visit, I bet the views up there must be amazing!
    noel recently Articleed…Beautiful gardens of KyotoMy Profile

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