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Mount Lemmon Trail #5, AZ

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Guide 201 Triplogs  3 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
3.6 of 5 by 33
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 5.26 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,022 feet
Elevation Gain 3,087 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,297 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.25
Backpack Possible & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
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7  2019-08-24
Mount Lemmon / Lemmon Rock Loop
11  2019-07-15
Aspen-Marshall with a hint of Mint
22  2019-06-29
WOR - Lemmon - Mint Loop
14  2019-06-29
WOR - Lemmon - Mint Loop
5  2019-06-15
Mt Lemmon Figure 8
4  2018-10-19
Santa Catalina Mountains - AZT #11
8  2018-08-30
Mount Lemmon Loop - Lemmon / WOR / Aspen
28  2018-08-11
Mount Lemmon / Lemmon Rock Loop
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 14
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct
Seasons   Late Spring to Summer
Sun  6:08am - 6:27pm
Official Route
47 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Arizona on the Edge
by HAZ_Hikebot

Likely In-Season!
Expansive views, lots of connecting trails, and access to the western portion of the Wilderness of Rock with its immense boulders and picturesque formations characterize this high country trail. The Mt. Lemmon Trail starts out near the summit of the 9,157 foot peak for which it is named, at a parking area about a mile past Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley near the end of Observatory Road. After following an access road along a buried powerline, it strikes off on a more backcountry course down one of the most prominent ridges that fan out from the mountaintop. Views are big here, encompassing the Wilderness of Rock to the southeast, Romero Canyon to the west and north, and most dramatic of all, Pusch Ridge to the west, stair stepping its sawtooth course toward Tucson.

The route Mt. Lemmon Trail follows through this rugged, mountainous country is steep and rocky in a number of places. Most notable of those difficult stretches are the series of switchbacks where the trail drops off the high ridge of the Catalinas toward the Wilderness of Rock, and the section between the Wilderness of Rock Trail #44 and West Fork Trail #24 junctions where trail gradients are as steep as they get in the Santa Catalinas.

The Mt. Lemmon Trail provides access to a number of other trails in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness including Sutherland #6, Lemmon Rock Lookout #12, Wilderness of Rock #44, Romero #8 and West Fork #24 trails. Many who hike this trail leave a second vehicle at one of these other trailheads and use the Mt. Lemmon Trail as part of a long day trip or a segment of a multi-day backpack. Whatever option you choose, chances are good that you'll be back to try one of the others.

Dogs are permitted on all but about the bottom tenth to quarter mile to Romero Pass.

Fabulous views of Pusch Ridge
Overlooks of Wilderness of Rock
Access to Sabino Basin
Mountaintop to desert diversity
Arizona Trail segment

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2008-02-25 HAZ_Hikebot
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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 58 deeper Triplog Reviews
Mount Lemmon Trail #5
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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.
Mount Lemmon Trail #5
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I took all three pups up to Mount Lemmon today for a nice 13-mile loop. We started at Marshall Gulch at 8:30am. There were a few other cars in the parking lot when we arrived, but we only saw three other people for the first 12 miles of the hike. The temps could not have been more perfect all day. It was ~35 degrees when we started and I don't think it ever hit 50. It was pretty windy and chilly on our ascent up Aspen trail to the top of the mountain, and when we got to the top we were literally hiking in a cloud for a few minutes. It finally warmed up a couple hours later as we descended into the Wilderness of Rocks area and had more direct sunlight. WOR had water flowing in every creek crossing, which the doggos all loved. We didn't take many breaks because the temps were so pleasant, and because Blanco and Cup are treat snobs and hated the new treats @friendofThundergod bought them for this weekend, so they weren't enjoying their snack breaks as much as they normally do. We finished in 5.5 hours on the dot to a much more crowded trail head parking lot. I'll admit, I was a tiny bit nervous about hiking alone with three dogs, but they were all on their best behavior and we had a lovely day together. :)
Mount Lemmon Trail #5
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@John9L put together a nice loop for my first time up on Lemmon and I came away with a great first impression of the area. We took a lot of breaks because in accordance with National Dog Day we were hiking with three dogs and it did get a little warm for stretches. Although, apparently not everyone was observing National Dog Day, as someone chose to mumble their opinion about dogs to us as we passed him early on. Luckily for him, we passed him on the trail two more times, but I am not sure we won him over on either of those encounters either.

All of the trails on the loop were in pretty good shape in my opinion. The initial climb was a tad warm, but its a pretty quick and easy climb, so none were too affected by it. It was a little busy on top and the high point is not much to write home about, but Lemmon Lookout was a worthy detour. The hike through Wilderness of Rocks was great and there was ample water for dogs and skinny dipping apparently, as another group was partaking in that. We bumped into @arizona_water in the WOR and chatted a bit, nice to finally meet him. We finished to a crowded traihead area and played a little musical car parking spots to get out and let others in. We finished up at the Tucson Hop Shop, had a couple of beers and ate curry from a food truck, when in Tucson I guess....

National Dog Day

Every day is National Dog Day in my house and I do realize its just a silly hashtag driven holiday. However, I could not help but get a little sentimental reflecting on how much my dogs mean to me. In particular, how much Cupcake means to me. She helped me get "normal" after a tough year in Iraq and then waited for me when I left her again to go to Afghanistan. She turns 13 in December, but is still one of the toughest dogs I know, she has been hit by a car and nearly drowned in the Blue Range, but she still persists and knocks out miles and eats chicken treats with the zeal of a five year old dog. She has been the most consistent entity in my life for most of my adult years and I really can't imagine life without her and Mr. Blanco...
Mount Lemmon Trail #5
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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 :)
Mount Lemmon Trail #5
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Mt Lemmon Torture Fest
big day up on lemmon. i parked at the mt lemmon trailhead. went down aspen draw, upper sabino riparian to summerhaven and back. loaded up the pack then hit mt lemmon, wilderness of rocks, marshall gulch to TH and back, then died up radio ridge on the aspen trail back to my car.

i've recently highlited the post winter conditions of some of these trails. new reports:

Aspen Draw: from the top of radio ridge to the upper sabino riparian juntion is clear. there is a nuisance tree down on the spur to ski valley parking lot

upper sabino riparian: a couple of big down trees that are surprisingly tough to get over/around depending on the route you take (these are on the singletrack, not the nearby wider roadbed.

Mt lemmon: totally clear to WOR from my recollection. awesome of course

Wilderness of Rocks: clear from my recollection. love love love this trail. not much water in upper lemmon creek but definitely some

heading into the beastly final climb up aspen trail to radio ridge nearly killed me today. Wow

cold at the start (upper 30's at 9000 feet)

killer route
Mount Lemmon Trail #5
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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.
Mount Lemmon Trail #5
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Set out to do some testing, training and assessment.

* Altra, Lone Peak 3.0 w/sof-soles. Nice on the feet, great grip, extremely stable, but wearing fast in the tread (I give them less than 100 miles). Great for long hauls, but not every day trails.
* Fenix 3. 12 hours of Nav while Tracking took me down to 10% battery. Stats were unbelievably on the dot.
* Packing. Camel ultra-10 weighing 10lbs, front-belt pack at 5lbs. Used 60 oz before Quartzite Spring, drank ~20 while there and loaded up with 80. Drank another 60 the rest of the trip. Could have easily gone with half the weight, but wanted to keep it a bit heavy today.

As for training, this was time well spent. A 295 FPM average, sustained for 12 hours is a productive day.

On to the assessment. According to the spreadsheet, this came in at 74% of my ability. As of 20 hours later, I feel more like it was 100% of my ability. I'm not impressed with the results. Gotta beef it up.
Mount Lemmon Trail #5
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AZT: I-10 to Summerhaven
Day 1: I decided to join Dallin on a portion of his Spring Break AZT dash. We were dropped off at Gabe Zimmerman TH on Saturday a.m. and started the trek at segment #8. It was a sunny, beautiful day. The trail is mostly flat and winds through a scenic desert. Saguaros dominate, Rincon Peak looms and neat geology surrounds. The smell of spring Creosote wafted through the air. Plenty of mountain bikers on this stretch. We breaked at Rincon Creek and enjoyed a brief soak. Heading up and into the mountains we would cross many flowing drainages and even saw a distant waterfall. After some climbing, we both hit a wall and stopped for camp on a rock slab 2 miles short of Grass Shack. Worst campsite ever. We were joined at camp by Anna, a solo backpacker on the 2nd night of her maiden voyage, who we'd been leap frogging in those last 6 miles.

Day 2: We woke up refreshed and determined to make up some milage. We started our climb up Mica Mountain. The ever changing terrain kept me in awe. Unlike anything I'd seen in AZ. The Juniper grasslands gave way to pines. The trail was beautiful and easy to follow. The creek at Grass Shack was flowing good. Temps dropped as we climbed and we didn't see any sunshine all day. Our nutrition / water break at Manning Camp was fairly chilly. We reached the top shortly after and enjoyed the stunning views. We hit a few snow patches on the north face of Mica. Nothing too bad but the slow melt made the trail loose and slick. We made our way down through the oak and manzanita forest before a nice afternoon/evening stroll over the rolling grasslands. Winds were ripping, deer were grazing and we both nearly stepped on a very lethargic baby rattler. After an impressive sunset and 1.5 hours of night hiking, we settled on another lousy camp site, but made it work.

Day 3: Didn't start well at all. I woke up with a screaming IT band and a serious case of pumpkin chaffe with a 25 mile day ahead. I threw an elastic knee brace on and went commando to help combat the chaffe (it helps). Needless to say, it took some warming up before I could move. I limped my way up the pass and down to Molino Basin. Dallin informed me that this was one of my last bail out options, but encouraged me to keep going, so I did. Once we topped out and I saw the views down into Sabino Canyon, my spirits were instantly lifted. I pushed on through the pain and was grateful I did. Wouldn't want to miss this canyon. We made our way back down into Saguaros and a lush riparian zone. The entire canyon and every drainage was raging. Quite a few day hikers and a few backpackers along this stretch. I can see why, Sabino is a showstopper. Despite my ailments, we were cruising along the canyon and making great time. Romero Pass put an end to that. I could barely lift my right leg at this point but we pushed on. Eventually we topped out and down into Wilderness of Rocks. More snow patches in this area. Some icy, but no additional gear is needed, just a careful step. The snow melt fueled good flowing water everywhere. We had about 5 miles left and I was hurting, completely drained and flat out delirious. Spending another night wasn't an option. Temps dropped quickly and darkness fell. We had a couple hours of night hiking with some interesting route finding along snowy creeks. It took some teamwork but we made it out and to our ride after road walking up from Marshall Gulch TH. Temps were already in the mid 30's. Burritos and beverages saved the day. Overall, an amazing and epic trip. We knocked out a good amount of trail with big climbs but I also got my pumpkin handed to me a few times throughout. Well worth it.

Brittles and poppies mostly. Still too early.
Mount Lemmon Trail #5
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Rough day on the mountain. I met up with Roy and Niel to make this crazy march up the Sutherland Ridge. For those who aren't familiar with it, the trail starts out on an old jeep road, which looks more like an 1800s wagon route, then worsens into one of the most relentless climbs ever, turning into a trailless crash through a bunch of brushy stuff and finally, relaxing into an agonizing, uphill home stretch - with outstanding views of Pusch Ridge, The Window, Window Peak, Cathedral Peak, Romero Pass and more.

We had a good day though, doing what most people (more sensible people) wouldn't even think of doing. As with any hike, big or small, easy or brutal, I couldn't imagine a better way to waste my time :)

Thanks guys for the trek. Until next time...
Mount Lemmon Trail #5
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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

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.
2+ mi range whistle
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