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Mount Lemmon

Mount Lemmon
Backside of Mount Lemmon
Elevation 9,159 ft (2,792 m) NAVD 88[1]
Prominence 5,157 ft (1,572 m)[2]
Listing Ultra
Mount Lemmon is located in Arizona
Mount Lemmon
Location of Mount Lemmon in Arizona
Location Tucson, Pima County, Arizona. U.S.
Range Santa Catalina Mountains
Coordinates [1]
Topo map USGS Mount Lemmon
Easiest route Catalina Highway

Mount Lemmon (O'odham: Babad Doʼag), with a summit elevation of 9,159 feet (2,792 m),[1] is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains. It is located in the Coronado National Forest north of Tucson, Arizona, United States. Mount Lemmon was named for botanist Sara Plummer Lemmon, who trekked to the top of the mountain with her husband and E. O. Stratton, a local rancher, by horse and foot in 1881.[3][4] It is reported that Mount Lemmon Ski Valley, on the mountain's northeastern side, receives 200 inches (508 cm) of snow annually.[5]


  • Summerhaven 1
  • Mount Lemmon Station Observatory 2
  • Windy Point 3
  • Catalina Highway 4
  • Back side 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Summerhaven is a small town near the top of the mountain. It is a summer residence for many but there are some year round residents. There are many small cabins most of which were rebuilt after the Aspen Fire of July 2003.[6]

Mount Lemmon Station Observatory

View of the telescopes on Mount Lemmon

At the peak is the Catalina Sky Survey, and The Mount Lemmon Sky Center, The University of Arizona Astronomy Camp program,[8] the University of Arizona, and the University of Minnesota. The educational resources at the top of the mountain make it a unique research and teaching destination.

Windy Point

The location 'Windy Point' was built by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, using a large number of prisoners over a period of 18 years, and is a popular place for outdoor weddings.[9]

Catalina Highway

Catalina Highway climbing Mount Lemmon

The Catalina Highway, also called the Mount Lemmon Highway, as well as the Hitchcock Highway (after Frank Harris Hitchcock) runs up the Santa Catalina Mountains from the east side of Tucson up to Summerhaven, at the top of Mt. Lemmon. The beautiful, curving road is a favorite drive for tourists, for locals escaping summer's heat and cyclists, and has been recently designated as the Sky Island Parkway, part of the US National Scenic Byway system.[10]

2010 saw the inaugural running of the Mount Lemmon Marathon.[11]

Back side

View of Mt. Lemmon from Oracle, AZ

A dirt "access" road to the summit on the "back side" of Mount Lemmon starts in Oracle, which is on state highway 77 northeast of Tucson. It offers a secondary route to the top. This route is popular with off-road 4x4 drivers and with off-road or dual-purpose motorcyclists. This road ends at the Catalina Highway near Loma Linda. Before the Catalina Highway was built it was the only route up the mountain.[12]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Catalina 2 Reset 2". NGS data sheet.  
  2. ^ "Mount Lemmon, Arizona". Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  3. ^ "California Beat Hero: Sara Plummer Lemmon". May 27, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ Lemmon, J.G.. A botanical wedding trip. in Californian. vol. 5. no. 24. pp. 517-525. (1881)[2]
  5. ^ "Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley". Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  6. ^ Faherty, John. "Town of Summerhaven back after devastating fire". AZ Central. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Air Defense Radar Stations". Radomes Inc. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Wedding locations". Marry Me in Tucson. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Name change to Sky Island Parkway". Arizona Dept. of Transportation. Retrieved July 14, 2010. 
  11. ^ Lacey, Marc (October 17, 2010). "A Finish Line With a Real High: 8,000 Feet". New York Times. Retrieved October 28, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Backway to Mount Lemmon". Retrieved August 28, 2012. 

External links

  • "Mount Lemmon".  
  • "Mt. Lemmon". 
  • NOAA Mt. Lemmon Forecast.
  • Information about the year round public programs at the SkyCenter.
  • Information about the astronomical observatory.
  • The Catalina Sky Survey.
  • David Leighton, "Street Smarts: Highway, mountain named for botanist," Arizona Daily Star, Jan. 05, 2015
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