Lemmon Rock #12

Area Status: Open

Lemmon Rock Trail

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. 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. 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, views of the spectacular rock formations which form the upper limit of the Wilderness of Rock can be seen. 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.

At a Glance

Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Motorized and mechanical vehicles and equipment, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in Wilderness.
Water: Purification of water is recommended prior to use.
Operated By: Santa Catalina Ranger District
Information Center: Santa Catalina Ranger District    520-749-8700

General Information

Directions: 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.


Day Hiking

Marvelous views, accessible overlook, challenging trail, access to Wilderness of Rock. Water can be found at Lemmon Creek year-round. Purification of water is recommended prior to use. This trail is very steep and rocky, and in places hard to find. It is not recommended for novices. 1.9 miles of this trail are within the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. When hiking in remote areas, go with a companion whenever possible. Always tell someone where you’ve gone and when you expect to return. USGS Map(s): Mt. Lemmon
Elevation desc 7,500 - 9,000 feet
Difficulty Level: Most Difficult


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  Area/Length : 
2 miles

  Elevation : 
7,500 feet - 9,000 fet