Scenic Arizona Drive Mt. Lemmon

Scenic Arizona Drive Mt. Lemmon

Sky Island Scenic Byway: Mount Lemmon Highway to Summerhaven Scenic Drive

A beautiful 25-mile long paved drive to a cooler climate. This winding byway trail ascends 9,157-foot Mount Lemmon in the rugged Santa Catalina Mountains.

Mt Lemmon Drive

Mt Lemmon Drive

Along the way there are many pull off points where you can stop and take a photograph or just take in the view.

Barnum Rock was important to prevent the spread of wildfires in the early 1920's. Honorary Boy Scouts would be stationed on this rock to help the Forest Service be on a lookout for forest fires. Barnum Rock is the higher rock with least amount of trees on it. Can you imagine being stationed out there?

Mt. Lemmon views

Mt. Lemmon views

The San Pedro Valley Viewpoint is an expansive view. On a clear day you can see all the way to New Mexico.

Barnum Rock

Barnum Rock

The Sky Island Scenic Byway offers incredible mountain vistas that lead you deeper into the national forest. Your drive will work your way through the desert and into a forest of tall pines.  

It is much cooler up here (aprox. 20 degrees cooler) than in downtown Tucson. Due to the cooler temperatures, Mt. Lemmon is a popular summer destination and a great spot to camp and hike.

At the top of Mt Lemmon is a small town, mostly filled with summer homes, appropriately named Summerhaven. A great retreat for people to escape the summer desert heat.

There are only a few shops and restaurants up here. So much was destroyed in the Aspen fire in the summer of 2003, still 5 years later you can see the damage to the forest.Few people realize that Tucson is home to the southern-most ski hill in the country.

Directions: There are a lot of turns! From Phoenix drive down I-10 to Tucson and take exit 248 toward Ina Rd (becomes E Skyline Drive). Stay straight to go onto E Sunrise Drive,turn right onto N Kolb Rd (becomes N Sabino Canyon Rd). Turn left onto E Tanque Verde Rd,turn left on to E Cataline Hwy (becomes Sky Island Pkwy) Sky Island Pkwy (becomes N General Hitchcock Hwy) N General Hitchcock Hwy becomes N Sabino Canyon Park

Expect the drive to take about 3 hours of drive time to the top and back.

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