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Backway to Mount Lemmon

No Reviews
Location Tucson, AZ
Rating Easy,
Length 28.2mi
Time 3hrs

Vehicle Types

Overview

Lesser-used backroad that climbs to top of ski area.

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.

Rating

Easy
Trail Ratings Defined

Most of the road is smooth gravel. The upper part gets a little rougher, but any 4-wheel-drive SUV can do it. Very dusty when dry.

Stats

Length

28.2mi

Time

3hrs

High Point

7,884ft

Best Time To Go

Summer

Current Conditions

(520) 749-8700Coronado N.F., Santa Catalina Ranger District

Check the Weather

Free GPS download

Trail Updates

08/02/2020
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.

06/4/2020
Coronado National Forest temporary closure. Due to the Bighorn fire, this area has restrictions. Read forest order here. For updates go to N.F. website for alerts and notices.

3/20/2018
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.

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