Towering over the Santa Catalina Mountains is Mount Lemmon, the highest point in the region with an elevation of 9,159 feet.H ere, you can access the abundance of activities on Mount Lemmon in just an hour's drive from Tucson's city center, making it the perfect adventure playground and a favorite day trip destination.
Because Mt. Lemmon is usually 20-30 degrees cooler than the valley, it can be a great place to cool down from the summer heat. The mountain is known for excellent views, and many visit for fabulous day or overnight hikes. Some of Mt. Lemon's most well-known hikes are Aspen Trail and Marshall Gulch Loop, Trail Meadow Trail, and Butterfly Trail via Crystal Spring Trail
For those into mountain biking, Mt. Lemmon should already be on your radar. Seemingly endless trails carve around the Santa Catalina Mountains, and Mt. Lemmon has excellent trails for high elevation training. Popular mountain biking trails include Canada del Oro, Aspen Draw, and Kellog/Incinerator Ridge.
If street cycling is more your cup of tea, hit the Catalina Highway for a grueling 7,080-feet climb. This has become widely known as one of the top 100 most challenging rides in the nation.
Those who prefer exploring on four legs instead of two have plenty of options at Mt. Lemmon. Equestrians often trailer their horses up to the mountain. Alternatively, several stables at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains offer tours around the state park and Mount Lemmon.
Sometimes a day trip just isn't enough. For an overnight stay, there are five campgrounds to choose from, which are available for individuals, couples, or families. They include General Hitchcock, Gordon Hirabayashi, Molino Basin, Rose Canyon, and Spencer Canyon. Check with each campground to find out if RVs are allowed.
Lastly, if you're after some slightly more comfortable accommodation, book a cabin at the recently opened Mt Lemmon hotel. Enjoy a restful sleep and wake up to your favorite activities right at your doorstep.