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Lemmon Summit Loop, AZ
mini location map2014-03-08
13 by photographer avatarJohn9L
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Lemmon Summit Loop, AZ 
Lemmon Summit Loop, AZ
Backpack avatar Mar 08 2014
Backpack26.46 Miles 8,318 AEG
Backpack26.46 Miles2 Days         
8,318 ft AEG
1st trip
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!
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Camp-fire Campsite
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90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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