The drive up Mt Lemmon came highly recommended by Gary & Janice – RV’ers from Ontario that we met in Quartzsite – and we’re so glad we were able to do it – on this brilliant blue sky day for a road trip!
The Sky Island Scenic Byway is the only paved road that winds up the southern flank of the Santa Catalina Mountains to 9,157’ Mt. Lemmon and is travelled by over 1 million visitors each year. It is considered one of the most scenic drives in southeast Arizona.
Because the road starts in the warm desert and climbs to the cool mixed forests, it offers the biological equivalent of driving from the deserts of Mexico to the forests of Canada in a short stretch of 27 miles!
As you drive up the mountain, every turn reveals something new. In some places that may be a community of trees and shrubs, different from the one just around the previous curve. In others, it may be a new gallery of natural rock sculptures even more impossibly perched than the last.
Or a broader panorama that stretches in an entirely different direction than the one that caused you to stop and snap a photo just a few moments before.
There are numerous pull-outs, turnouts at scenic overlooks and several campgrounds and picnic areas. Dozens of hiking trails offer access to the mountain’s backcountry canyons and ridges and a ski hill!
A great road trip – comes highly recommended from us to you!