A lesser-used backway to the top of Mount Lemmon. It’s a gradual climb until the last 6 miles, where the road twists and climbs up the steeper part of the mountain. It’s a long, beautiful drive returning down the front side of the mountain on paved Catalina Highway. The backway is closed in winter from Dec. 15 to Mar. 1. If you are looking for more challenge, consider adding a side trip up steeper Rice Peak, trail 69. Camp at Peppersauce F.S. Campground. Street-legal vehicles only allowed on this route.
Submitted by John
We decided to take this ride up the back way to Mt. Lemmon to get out of the heat and the road is closed still do to the fire that was present a few weeks back. However, the paved road from the south side of the mountain is open. Doesn’t even make sense but considering the few National forests that we’ve visited since Covid nothing really does.
Submitted by Richard
This is a very scenic road. Starting in Tucson, it is quite a worthwhile trip even if you don’t get on the trail. Once on the trail, it is really pretty tame. We saw a van do it, but there are a few spots he was probably thinking it was a bad idea. There is a fun run up a steep hill a bit before the Rice Peak cutoff. It is not marked as anyone’s private property and is clearly used. It is shaped like a needle where you go up the right side and loop down the left. Quite a fun side trail maybe 100 yards long. We did it with 37’s and 4″ lift, using rear lockers.