Backway to Mt. Lemmon

Location: Northeast of Tucson, southeast of Oracle.

Difficulty: Easy.

Description: A fun, lightly-used backcountry road to popular Mt. Lemmon. Usually driven from south side on busy Catalina Highway. Camp in Coronado National Forest’s Peppersauce Campground. Well-maintained dirt road but very bumpy. Low range is helpful to climb the last few miles up the backside of Mt. Lemmon. Two-wheel drive, high-clearance adequate in dry weather. Snow and ice possible near top in late fall. Avoid during the winter.

Video: Watch video footage of the trail.

Time & Distance: About 25 miles. Allow 2 to 3 hours one way to the top of Mt. Lemmon.

Trail Conditions: Coronado N.F., Santa Catalina Ranger District. Call (520) 749-8700.




Remember: trail conditions, fire restrictions, weather, and land ownership change constantly so everyone must take responsibility for themselves, both for their safety and complying with all laws. Please understand that means YOU.


Directions to the Trail: Head north on Oracle Road (Hwy 77) from Tucson. Stay on Hwy 77 all the way to Oracle. Turn right on American Avenue just past mile marker 100. Bear right on Mt. Lemmon Road after 2.4 miles. Turn right after another 3.2 miles where the road turns to dirt. This is called the Mt. Lemmon Control Road.


View Backway to Mt. Lemmon in a larger map for even more DETAILS!


Get yourself and your rig ready for the trip: Make sure both you and your vehicle are prepared for your next adventure.

Before you venture out on your offroading trip you need to make sure you are prepared for emergencies. Even if nothing happens to you or your vehicle, you might come across someone who needs help. Short of having your full-on bug-out-bag with you, you should at least have some basic emergency items. It might seem obvious to some, but you should get yourself a tool box with appropriate tools and leather gloves, good first aid kit, fire extinguisher, set of jumper cables, emergency blankets (stored in heavy plastic bag – both are useful), flashlight, tow strap and some extra water. I would also suggest a recovery strap, a military folding shovel, heavy duty garbage bags, and a hand crank self powered weather radio. These items are not expensive, but they just might save your day.

Another thing you should definitely do before you leave is to save the number to Arizona 4×4 Off Road Recovery in case you find yourself in need of recovery in the middle of nowhere. Their number is (602) 697-8306.


If you’re ready for a next adventure and want to plan it right, check out some of these trail guides – Arizona has so many awesome destinations to explore!




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