Snowfall leads to road closures on Mt. Lemmon

Snowfall leads to road closures on Mt. Lemmon

Seasonal road closures scheduled for Dec. 15


Tucson, AZ (November 30, 2018) For immediate release – The Santa Catalina Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest has temporarily closed and locked gates on two roads in the upper elevations of Mt. Lemmon due to weather-related unsafe driving conditions.  Upper Ski Run Road and the road into Marshall Gulch have been closed due to snow and ice.


The main road leading up the mountain, the Catalina Highway, generally remains open with periodic full or partial closures due to weather-related issues. Road conditions on Catalina Highway may be checked by calling (520) 547-7510.


Seasonal road and day-use site closures on Mt. Lemmon occur each year.  On Nov. 15, upper elevation recreation sites at Rose Canyon, Showers Point, Spencer Canyon, and Whitetail campgrounds closed for the winter. Lower elevation campgrounds at Gordon Hirabayashi and Molino Basin opened the same day.


Roads affected by winter weather will be closed annually on December 15, and reopen on March 1, unless weather conditions render them unsafe before or after those dates.  Roads affected by the seasonal closure are: Lower, Middle, and Upper Control roads, Marshall Gulch Road, Lower and Upper Bear Wallow roads, Bigelow Road, Incinerator Ridge Road, Organization Ridge Road, the road into General Hitchcock Campground and Upper Ski Run Road to the top of Mt Lemmon above Ski Valley.  The roads into Rose and Spencer canyon campgrounds closed Nov. 15 when the recreation areas closed for the season. Roads remain open to hikers, cross country skiers, bicyclists and other non-motorized users.


In addition to last night’s storm, forecasts of an approaching winter storm this weekend could bring conditions leading to earlier road closures elsewhere on Mt. Lemmon. 


Seasonal closures are implemented primarily for public safety. Hazardous road conditions including snow and ice can cause difficulty travelling.  Often, people in vehicles become stranded, resulting in emergency response by Forest Service staff, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, and towing companies. These impacts can be reduced by seasonally closing roads. 


Seasonal closures also aid district personnel in reducing road maintenance arising from damage to forest roads during winter.  Freezing and thawing of road surfaces this time of year can leave them more prone to damage from vehicles, which results in poor road conditions in spring and summer when demand for their use is highest.


For more information please contact the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center at (520) 749-8700.