- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Fodor's Arizona & the Grand Canyon 2014
Mount Lemmon Review
Part of the Santa Catalina range, Mount Lemmon—named for Sara Lemmon, the first woman to reach the peak of this mountain, in 1881—is the southernmost ski slope in the continental United States, but you don't have to be a skier to enjoy the area: in summer, it's a popular place for picnicking, and there are 150 miles of marked and well-maintained trails for hiking. The mountain's 9,157-foot elevation brings relief from summer heat.
Mount Lemmon Highway twists its way for 28 miles up the mountainside. Every 1,000-foot climb in elevation is equivalent, in terms of climate, to traveling 300 miles north: you'll move from typical Sonoran Desert plants in the Foothills to vegetation similar to that found in southern Canada at the top. Rock formations along the way look as though they were carefully balanced against each other by sculptors from another planet.
Even if you don't make it to the top of the mountain, you'll find stunning views of Tucson at Windy Point, about halfway up. Look for a road on your left between the Windy Point and San Pedro lookouts; it leads to Rose Canyon lake, a lovely reservoir.
Just before you reach the ski area, you'll pass through the tiny alpine-style village of Summerhaven, which has some casual restaurants, gift shops, and pleasant lodges.
There are no gas stations on Mount Lemmon Highway, so gas up before you leave town and check the road conditions in winter. To reach the highway, take Tanque Verde Road to Catalina Highway, which becomes Mount Lemmon Highway as you head north.
Coronado National Forest. At milepost 18 of your ascent, on the left-hand side of the road, is the Palisades Ranger Station of Coronado National Forest. Rangers have information on the mountain's campgrounds, hiking trails, and picnic spots. 520/749–8700. www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado. Daily 8–4:30.
Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley. Mount Lemmon Highway ends at Mount Lemmon Ski Valley. Skiing and snowboarding depend on natural conditions—there's no artificial snow, so call ahead. There are 21 runs, ranging from beginner to advanced. Lift tickets cost $40 for an all-day pass and $32 for a half-day pass starting at 12:30 pm. Equipment rentals and instruction are available.
Off-season you can take a ride on the chairlift ($9), which whisks you to the top of the slope—some 9,100 feet above sea level. Many ride the lift, then hike on one of several trails that crisscross the summit. There are some concessions right at the ski lift; the Iron Door Restaurant, across the road, serves sandwiches, soups, and homemade pies alongside gorgeous views. 10300 Ski Run Rd., Mount Lemmon, 85619. 520/576–1321. www.skithelemmon.com. Closed Tues.–Wed.
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
Link to my photos
Sorry---Lots of food pics
Even though our quick weekend get away started out on the wrong foot, we ended up having a grea Read more
In April 2013, my husband and I did a Utah and Arizona Grand Circle tour-covering the Grand Canyon, the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, The Needles and the Island Read more
We have visited Tucson briefly for the past two winters and have arranged a month next winter.we have been taken by surprise in terms of our affection for Tucson. Ideally we would like to snowbird there Read more
· News & Features
Stunning beaches, tantalizing food, and veritable vino—we're all about epicurean excellence ... Read more
A history of Moleskine notebooks and a blog for safari lovers are among the things we've been reading... Read more
Nassau is an easily accessible, fun-packed destination for adults and kids alike.... Read more