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Lemmon Rock Trail #12, AZ

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Guide 57 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
3.9 of 5 by 20
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Distance One Way 2.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,500 feet
Elevation Gain 1,614 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,632 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.74
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
7  2019-08-24
Mount Lemmon / Lemmon Rock Loop
11  2019-07-15
Aspen-Marshall with a hint of Mint
28  2018-08-11
Mount Lemmon / Lemmon Rock Loop
12  2017-08-26
Mount Lemmon / Lemmon Rock Loop
33  2017-07-15
Mount Lemmon / Lemmon Rock Loop
3  2016-05-13
Wilderness of Rocks #44
9  2015-03-31
Santa Catalina Mountains - AZT #11
16  2014-10-19
Mt Lemmon Lollipop
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
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   Aug, Sep, Jul, Jun
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  6:06am - 6:31pm
Official Route
16 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Lemmon Drawhp!
by HAZ_Hikebot

Likely In-Season!
This trail extends from a trailhead just below Mt. Lemmon's summit and the Wilderness of Rock deep within that picturesque area of the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. It is a very steep trail, earning its most difficult rating by dropping 2,000 feet in a short two miles. The views are worth it, though, especially since the most expansive of them can be seen from a rocky overlook at the top of Lemmon Rock at the end of a short spur off the main trail. From this overlook, which also serves as the location for a historic Forest Service lookout cabin, you can see much of southeastern Arizona and northern Sonora Mexico.

Closer at hand, the views are just as impressive. Rappel Rock, the saw-toothed edge of Pusch Ridge and the upper reaches of Sabino Canyon are some of the features that make up the panorama.

The point at which the spur to the lookout and the main trail part company is plainly marked. From this junction, the Lemmon Rock Trail drops steeply through a shady stand of ponderosa pines. At various points, the tree canopy opens to provide views of the spectacular rock formations which form the upper limit of the Wilderness of Rock. Included are close-up views of Rappel Rock and the Ravens. The trail becomes eroded and rocky as it nears its junction with the Wilderness of Rock Trail #44 at Lemmon Creek, which offers the only dependable water along this route.

Attractions: Marvelous views, accessible overlook, challenging trail and access to Wilderness of Rock!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2008-02-28 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 18 deeper Triplog Reviews
Lemmon Rock Trail #12
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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.
Lemmon Rock Trail #12
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Met up with Lee and Carrie for a nice hike on Lemmon. Lee and I left Phoenix fairly early and made the drive down to Tucson where we picked up Carrie and headed up the Catalina Hwy. We made the drive up and parked in a very busy parking lot at the Marshall Gulch area. From there we geared up and made the hike in. We passed a variety of people and then headed up the Aspen Trail towards the summit. Once up top we soaked in the views and headed west and took a snack break before heading down the Lemmon Trail. We then turned into Wildnerness of Rocks and headed across. This section is one of my favorite hikes around. I love the formations and enjoy the creek flowing through. At one point we took a lunch and then continued hiking back to the vehicle. We finished up late in the afternoon and then started the return. We stopped in Tucson to get some food and then dropped Carrie off and headed back to Phoenix. It was a long day but was well worth it. Thanks Lee for driving!
Lemmon Rock Trail #12
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This was my first time on Mount Lemmon. And for the first time, I learned how to spell "Lemmon." :lol:

We descended the Lemmon Rock Trail, which was mostly overgrown. Portions of this trail felt like bushwhacking and the trail itself required a little route finding at times, but it wasn't a big deal. Wilderness of Rocks Trail was the highlight, with lots of water coming down from the higher springs. The upper section of Lemmon Canyon Creek was impressive. I was surprised by how much flow there was this time of year, regardless of recent precipitation.
We found a really cool swimming hole and waterfall just off the WOR and Lemmon Rock intersection: [ photo ].

A couple miles later, I saw a white dog in the distance and my HAZ senses started tingling. Could it be @friendofthundergod ? It was great to finally meet @john9l and Lee!

We climbed back up the ridgeline to the Lemmon summit via the AZT. This is a fun loop, with lots of great views reminiscent of Canyonlands (Big Spring Canyon, specifically) and the Chiricahuas.
Lemmon Rock Trail #12
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WOR/Lemmon Rock Loop
Really nice afternoon on the mountain. The western portion of WOR gets a little hot, but there was a lot of water and shady areas. I'd love to camp on this trail sometime.

This was my first time on the Lemmon Rock trail - pretty steep but not ridiculous. Like Box Camp trail, the views of Sabino Basin and Tucson are amazing.
Lemmon Rock Trail #12
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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.
Lemmon Rock Trail #12
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My second day on the mountain and "I'm felling much better now" ;) . I had a great recovery nap last night, and had no plan as of 08:00, so I grabbed the laptop, headed to Ski Valley and used my phone to pipe in a track. I knew I was limited in several ways, but picked the best route for my general needs. Great Choice! I'm not gonna go into detail here, but this trek was the conception of a "Peak of Summer", Mega-Loop, in the the upper-front range of the Cat's. The high elevation diversity along this route cannot be matched. I plan to refine this into a Description, where I'll be much more specific in the transitions (soon to come)...
Incredible day in the high of the low country. :y:
Lemmon Rock Trail #12
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Did a loop descending the Aspen trail, over on the WOR to the last western Lemmon Creek crossing, up trail #12, and then back down the MT Lemmon Trail to the Sutherland area, and back up the trail to the top. Nice, but extremely humid and moldy. Nice and green, and my favorite section of trail from west of the look out to the Sutherland area, had a lot of flowers and hummingbirds.
Lemmon Rock Trail #12
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Maybe it was doing too much, but I wanted to hike up on the mountain. I planned to do a loop in the WOR using trail # 12 and the Mt Lemmon Trail, but I ended up parking at Marshall Gulch, took the Aspen Trail as I never did that before, and when I was hiking up #12 in pain, with each step hurting and my muscles contracting very slowly, I knew I needed to cut the hike down and headed back toward the upper Aspen, after an hour break at the lookout. Nice and cool there, and I hiked down in the 60s. 64 at the trail head at 8 PM, with lots of whippoorwills.
Lemmon Rock Trail #12
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Lemmon Summit Loop
So it's been 3 months since I did an overnight backpack trip, which is waaaaay overdue. 9L and I had talked about it recently, and somewhere on Thursday or Friday we settled on Mt. Lemmon. Apparently I'm an idiot, because I agreed to this.

The first few miles up Romero Canyon were great, but as the elevation increased, I started to drag. At Romero Pass, I told 9L just to go ahead and I would meet him whenever I got there. I was moving at a snail's pace uphill. Perhaps as tired as I have ever been on a hike. The saving grace was the cool temperature and the stationary cloud that hovered overhead most of the time with the looming threat of rain. Luckily all the precipitation remained just to the east in the Rincons.

Once the climb was over, I really enjoyed the couple of miles in the Wilderness of Rocks. There was water in just about every creek crossing which was a pleasant surprise. I eventually reached the area we had decided to camp, and was happy 9L had taken the time to scope pick a spot.

We gathered a lot of firewood (there's plenty to be found with very little effort) in preparation for the cold night ahead. Before the sun set, we explored a couple of view points and cool rock formations nearby before settling in for dinner and fire. The wind picked up through the evening, and by the time we went to bed, it was gusting through the trees at an impressive speed. We had both carefully scoped our tent spots staying well clear of dead branches or trees that might fall in the wind. I woke up several times with the sound of the wind howling through the trees wondering if we shouldn't have camped out on the exposed rocks instead. :scared:

Morning was chilly, probably in the upper 30s, and continued crazy windy. We took our time with breakfast and packing up camp before making the final 2000 foot grind to the summit. The wind wasn't too bad in the sheltered gully the trail follows, but at the Lemmon Rock lookout, it was borderline dangerous and viciously cold and unpleasant. Needless to say, we didn't stay long. A short trip from the lookout we reached the summit where I managed to find the benchmark (Catalina 2 Reset) at the high-point. This is actually outside of the fenced-in restricted area, though I'm not certain what route would be best taken to get there legally.

The cold and wind were unpleasant, so we quickly headed down the Meadow Trail and joined the Mt. Lemmon trail heading down through the burn area. We had considered following Lemmon back to Romero and retracing our route back to the car, but instead decided to make a loop and take Sutherland back. I hesitate calling it a trail. Let's just say there was once a trail named Sutherland. Years ago.

This is a steep and relentless descent, and the miles and elevation from the past 36 hours took their toll on me. Route-finding was challenging, especially in the 2 miles along the main ridge after the power line turns from the trail (about half a mile below the Samaniego junction -- or mostly everything between 6700 and 7700 feet). There are a lot of boulders, and the trail has been lost to new growth. There are numerous cairns and some ribbons, so when we got lost, it was just a matter of back-tracking a bit and searching for the cairns. They were always there, just not always visible at first glance.

From there, the trail descends steeply, about 3000 feet in 3 miles, before joining a miserable, rocky old road for two more miles. It was no longer cold and windy, but instead hot, sunny, and sweaty. The turn back into the state park and onto smooth singletrack was extremely welcomed. Tired and in pain, we managed to make pretty good time over the last 2.6 miles, with great views of Pusch Ridge and the rest of the Catalinas, along with a nice crop of wildflowers.

Back at the car, I enjoyed a single Dales before snoozing home. Thanks to 9L for driving, and for suggesting this ridiculous hike to begin with. Not sure I'll ever hike Sutherland again. The rest maybe, but not sure about the weight of an overnight pack. That's a lot of miles and elevation in two days. Likely the toughest overnight I've ever done. I think I'm in worse shape than when Joe, Bob and Denny dragged me on a 21 mile and 8100 ft dayhike to Cheops that time...

Nice blooms along lower Sutherland inside the state park.
Lemmon Rock Trail #12
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Lemmon Summit Loop
Mount Lemmon has been on my list for a while now. After the recent rain/snow I felt this was the perfect weekend for a backpacking trip. I talked to Chumley and he was down so off we went for a grueling weekend!

We left Phoenix early on Saturday and drove to Catalina State Park. It’s closer than I anticipated. We started hiking before 9am and made our way up Romero Canyon. There were several groups day hiking but not any backpackers. We proceeded up the trail and were delighted to see running water. This is a very enjoyable area and would be great for day hiking. We continued on and reached Romero Pass where we took a lunch break. From there it was another 4+ miles and roughly 2K feet of AEG to Wilderness of Rocks. We selected a campsite a few minutes west of the junction to the summit trail. Our site was well used and had some improvements to it including a seat with a backrest. See pics. We enjoyed a campfire and plenty of cold water was close by. The overnight temps got chilly but weren’t too bad.

We woke early on Sunday and got the fire going again. We ate some breakfast and then tore down camp and were hiking soon after. Our goal for the day was to reach the summit another 2K feet above and then hike back down the state park. The hike up to Lemmon took considerable effort. We both noticed our elevation as we were short on breath. Our packs were lighter from the day before but were still a burden. With much effort we reached the summit where we checked out the fire lookout hut and then went over to the structures on the summit. It was very cold and windy up top. There was some snow in patches in the shady areas.

From the summit we went west and followed a two track road towards the Sutherland Trail. Once we reached that junction we decided to make this a true loop and we followed the Sutherland Trail down. This trail is a mix of good and bad. Some sections are in good shape and are easy to follow. Other sections are overgrown and route finding is a pain. We lost the trail at one point but consulted the map and had to bushwhack down to reconnect. The Sutherland trail drops around 6K feet in 8ish miles and it took its toll on my knees and ankles. It eventually levels off near the state park boundary. From there the rest of the return was tiring but straightforward and we were back to the jeep in no time and then home in Phoenix by late afternoon.

This is an amazing yet grueling hike! I doubt I ever do this loop again but it was well worth it. Wilderness of Rocks is fantastic and the views from the Lemmon Summit are jaw dropping. Tucson hikes are terrific and I plan on doing many more!

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 graveled 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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