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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Meadow Trail #5A, AZ

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Guide 100 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
3.5 of 5 by 24
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 0.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,100 feet
Elevation Gain -350 feet
Avg Time One Way 0.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 1.38
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
7  2019-08-24
Mount Lemmon / Lemmon Rock Loop
22  2019-06-29
WOR - Lemmon - Mint Loop
14  2019-06-29
WOR - Lemmon - Mint Loop
5  2019-06-15
Mt Lemmon Figure 8
28  2018-08-11
Mount Lemmon / Lemmon Rock Loop
4  2018-05-27 SunDevil3
18  2018-03-24
Soldier Trail to Mount Lemmon
28  2017-08-22 vanillagorilla
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Author fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 383
Photos 3,724
Trips 2,745 map ( 18,154 miles )
Age 44 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Co-Author PrestonSands
co-author avatarGuides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map (6,690 Miles)
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep → 8 AM
Sun  6:11am - 6:21pm
Official Route
21 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Highcountry Sweetness
by fricknaley & PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
Would I recommend a 0.8 mile hike as a destination for a 25 mile drive up the Catalina Highway? I guess not, but I would recommend finding some way to incorporate the Meadow Trail into any Loop or route you plan on doing on the top of Mt. Lemmon. It is that sweet...

The Meadow trail exists as a small alternative route to the beginning of the Mt. Lemmon trail. The official trailhead is about 0.1 miles into the Mt. Lemmon trail, which is located at the top of the road (Observation Road) that goes right past Ski Valley. So, hop on the Mt. Lemmon trail and immediately look for the signed trail junction for the start of the Meadow trail. Hang a right onto the Meadow Trail.

It starts as an old dirt road. There is a fenced off observatory off to the right. To the left is forest and ferns. There are often sunflowers here, with the requisite butterflies on them. The trail is flat through here.

Shortly the flavor of the trail changes as you enter covered pine forest proper. Some of the forest it burned, some is not. Everything is blanketed in ferns and there is shade everywhere, cooling off those hot Tucson temperatures. There is a great earthy, pine scent to the air. There are a couple of small grassy meadows here and there. To your left if you wander off trail are nice views out over the Wilderness of Rock and upper Sabino Canyon. You could spend all day here. Up to this point the trail is markedly level.

After roughly 0.5 miles the trail starts to switchback down the ridge, shaded all the way. There are some nice, huge trees along the way. Flowers and ferns too. Soon enough you come to the signed junction with the Mt. Lemmon trail again. To the right is miles of wilderness. To the left is the route back to the Mt. Lemmon trailhead. If you hang a left here be sure to take the short signed spur to the Lemmon Rock Lookout for some of the best views in Southern Arizona.

Don't miss out on this summertime treat.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2007-06-25 fricknaley & PrestonSands
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One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 37 deeper Triplog Reviews
Meadow Trail #5A
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I was looking for a cooler place to hike than the VOS, and decided that Mount Lemmon was a good choice.

We did this loop CCW, and the climb back up to Mount Lemmon on the Lemmon Rock LO Trail was a butt-kicker.

On the way down from Mount Lemmon, while on Mount Lemmon Trail #5 we went past the WOR Trail for about .2 mile to a really cool view point -- it is well worth checking out. On the way to the view point we came across a green mohave rattlerblack-tailed rattlesnake alongside the trail. This snake was not very happy to see us.

We made a side trip to Lemmon Pool -- the water was clear but it was down 10-12 inches from being full, and the waterfall was not running.
Meadow Trail #5A
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Shauna and I decided to escape the hellish heatwave and enjoy the Lemmon high country for a hike around the summit. Climbing out of my truck at Ski Valley, I promptly hugged an aspen tree, thankful to be in the forest and not suffering under oppressive desert heat. A climb on the Aspen Draw Trail was up first. Growing thunderstorms moved east without unleashing any lightning, thankfully, as the Catalina forests looked very, very dry. Hazy views, blooming sneezeflowers and a mountainside of bracken ferns greeted us on Radio Ridge. Continuing on to the true summit of Mount Lemmon, we added our names to the previous HAZ lineup, and then did an out-and-back on the Meadow Trail. We descended to the Ski Valley parking lot along the summit road, where a corkbark fir was begging for a hug. A fiery orange and red sunset demanded a photo stop on the old Mount Lemmon road before driving home with half the population of Tucson. An afternoon well spent.
Meadow Trail #5A
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spent the weekend up on lemmon with some good friends. did a nice hike saturday. up aspen draw, then meadow/lemmon loop and back down aspen draw. everyone was impressed by the big trees and great views. perfect weather. sierra did this high elevation hike no problem :y:
Meadow Trail #5A
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Mt Lemmon Figure 8
linda and whitney had planned to hike this figure 8 on mt. lemmon
got an invite from linda to tag along :)
i've done the marshall gulch - aspen loop before, but the rest of the trails would be new to me
not quite three hours from the pecos park & ride, putting some miles on the new tundra
got going around 8:00 up aspen trail
continued on aspen up to the mt. lemmon summit area, and followed preston's track to the top
interesting stuff up there, with the pima county high point as a bonus
continued on meadow trail, then backtracked a bit to lemmon rock lookout
this was a neat little spot, with great views and a fun approach to the building
should have talked whitney into coming with us, and taking a snack break there
dropped down the mount lemmon trail through forest, with good views to the west
started seeing some of the more bouldery terrain near the intersection with wilderness of rocks
loved this trail winding through the rocks :)
a steady climb back up to the saddle
found a little bit of running water, with columbines nearby, then some shady areas up higher
passed by primus wall, where i climbed with johnr1 a few years ago
easy stroll down marshall gulch to finish
not many people out by this point
scenic drive down the catalina highway, slow going across tucson, then back to the valley
i have really enjoyed the sky island terrain recently and this hike was a nice sampler of the available trails up high
highlights included wilderness of rocks trail, mt. lemmon summit, and lemmon rock lookout
nice to meet and hike with whitney and another good hike with linda
in fact, eight of my twelve new peaks so far this year have been with linda
thanks for including me on this one :)
Meadow Trail #5A
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Aspen/WoR loop
Hiked Mt. Lemmon from Marshall Gulch via the Aspen Trail with a few others, then continued down on my own to return via Wilderness of Rocks. It was nice to do some of these trails in the opposite direction from what I'm used to.

Perfect weather (~70) and not very busy for a Saturday, but I did not bring enough water/food for a hike of this size. 2 L and a solitary scone did not cut it, so the drive down wasn't fun. There was running water in WoR, so bringing the LifeStraw would've probably left me in good shape. Still felt good to do a substantial hike for the first time in over a month.
Meadow Trail #5A
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i took Sierra up to hike the meadow trail/mt lemmon loop. i knew she'd love this one. took our time and explored the meadow area. took in the views, checked out the excellent flower display and generally had ourselves an excellent day :)

she said this is her new favorite hike in the catalinas. she's got good taste
Meadow Trail #5A
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RIP to the King
monsoon like day up there with yesterdays rain breathing some life into the mountains. having a hard time getting my summer mountain lungs this year.

everything was going as expected and i looked forward to circling around on the meadow trail, one of my favorites. coming down the slopes i was absolutely horrified to see my favorite tree on earth, the mighty douglas fir of the meadow trail, had fallen over the winter. stopped and paid my condolences. forgive me for lamenting a tree, but good people of HAZ, if anyone understands you guys do, the attachment we develop to the rocks, trees, vistas of the places we love. to me, this mighty tree was the gentle king of the catalinas. RIP big guy. you will be missed.

saw BadBern and Floridasunshine on the way back, stopped and chatted for a minute. that was a nice surprise
Meadow Trail #5A
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All day grinder to the summit and back. Up RC#8 and ML#5 then a counter-clockwise loop around WOR#44, LR#12, summit and Meadow#5A, then back down ML#5 and RC#8. Especially enjoyed all the gorgeous granite formations in WOR.

Other than some downed trees, trails are in good condition. Moderate water flow in Romero Canyon, good pools and light creek flow at several places along WOR#44.
Meadow Trail #5A
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Drove back up Mt Lemmon (the easy way) to get our shuttle vehicle. Took a leisurely day checking out a few places on the drive up and a short hike at the top. Along the way we stopped at Molino Basin, Gordon Hirabayashi/ Prison Camp, Palisades, Mt Bigelow, Summerhaven, Marshall Gulch, the ski area and the summit.

At the top we did the short loop, the lookout and a few other overlooks.
Meadow Trail #5A
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After getting rained out of our lunch at Marshall Gulch, we headed to our 2nd short hike of the day. I'd done this one once before more than a year ago, and I remembered how pleasant it was. We did the short loop with the Mount Lemmon Trail CW. Tons of wildflowers along Meadow, and very green. Amazing views once we left the forest. We stopped and soaked in the views for a while before continuing back into the forest. We stopped at the overlook on the way back and took in some more great views. It rained on us off and on throughout the hike, but it stayed light and pleasant. Perfect!

The climb back up was a little tiring... more than it should've been. I need to get back into hiking shape! Thank goodness summer is almost over.

Permit $$
Visit this link for full details.

There are four specific day use areas that require a Coronado Recreational Pass or a National Pass/America the Beautiful Pass.
1) Sabino Canyon - located on the Santa Catalina Ranger District (520)749-8700
2) Madera Canyon - located on the Nogales Ranger District (520)281-2296
3) Cave Creek - located on the Douglas Ranger District (520)364-3468
4) Mt. Lemmon at 11 day use sites.

Catalina State Park $6 per day. Sabino Canyon Tram is $10 extra.

Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Take the Catalina Highway off Tanque Verde Road in Tucson. Drive 4.2 miles to the Forest boundary and continue 28 miles, past Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley, to the power substation on Radio Ridge. Hike west on the trail to a dirt road. Hike down the road to the trail junction.

The Catalina Highway is paved and suitable for passenger cars. Observatory Road is an all-weather gravelled road. Both roads may be snow-covered in winter, when chains or 4-wheel drive may be required. Observatory Road beyond Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley is not maintained for public use during the winter. It is closed when snow-covered or icy.
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