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Santa Catalina Mountain - Mount Lemmon - Rincon Mountains


Mt. Lemmon is a rare jewel in the Arizona desert. Jutting up 9,000 feet above sea level, this magnificent mountain peak stands amidst the pale backdrop of the sparse desert sand and cactus. The foothills of the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson begins the hour long journey to the top of the hill known as Mt. Lemmon. As your car climbs, you are transported into a geological time warp.

Mt. Lemmon is probably the most popular getaway for Tucsonans and visitors, especially during the hot summer when temperatures in the valley often remain over 100 degrees F. for several months. It's no wonder that probably everyone who has lived or stayed in the area has been to Mt. Lemmon at one time or another. To some, it is a regular pilgrimage several times a year.

From the base of the mountain range, all the desert plant and wildlife co-exist among the ever creeping metropolitan city limits. Saguaro cactus abounds standing tall against the backdrop of the enormous mountain range. As you drive up the winding road, you gain a sense of awe as you watch the desert slowly turn into brush, then into an array of windblown rock formations and finally into the midst of a deep forest of pine and fir. If you visit in the winter, be sure to bring your ski equipment or snow tires.

In 1540, the Spanish explorer Don Francisco de Coronado and his expedition entered southern Arizona from Mexico in search of Seven Golden Cities of Gold, which were said to exist somewhere to the north. The exhausted expedition never found Cibola, but rather they found an immense region of cactus, grassy hills, lizards, and rugged mountain ranges. Today these mountains, administered by the Coronado National Forest Ranger Districts, rise like islands in a sea of desert. Their towering summits, capture the snow and rain that allow cities, industry, and agriculture to exist below in our arid Sonoran Desert environment.

The twelve mountain ranges of Coronado National Forest total 1.7 million acres of public land, and offer a remarkable range of vegetative types and climates. In only one hour, you can drive from the usually hot, arid desert to the cool pines. Elevations range from 3,000 feet to 10,720 feet. The Coronado National Forest is especially rich in its diversity of fauna and flora.

Visitors to the forest participate in a broad spectrum of activities ranging from backpacking in the remote and rugged Galiuro Wilderness to riding a shuttle bus in scenic Sabino Canyon, adjacent to metropolitan Tucson. Other recreational pursuits enjoyed on the Coronado include camping picnicking, hiking, studying nature, rock climbing, winter sports, fishing, hunting, rock hounding, photography, bird watching, and just plain enjoying the majestic scenery.

Mount Lemmon, offers some of the closest Coronado National Forest recreation opportunities all among the cool mountain pines. The Catalina Highway, a steep, scenic winding mountain road, provides access from northeastern Tucson to this popular area. For the hearty who are aching for a great backpacking trip, the Santa Catalina Passage portion of the Arizona Trail (which starts across the border from Douglas and ends up in Utah) leads you to the top of Mount Lemmon, from a Sonora Desert ecosystem to one resembling southern Canada.

Campgrounds are General Hichcock (5,920 feet), Pepersauce (4,700), Rosecanyon (7,200 feet) and Spencer Canyon (8,000 feet)

For more information: 520-749-8700 or www.pr.state.az.us/parkhtml/catalina.html






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The Pepper Group™
Diversified Real Estate
5845 N Calle Tiburon
Tucson, AZ 85704
1-520-977-0003
Tucson Real Estate