Mt. Lemmon--Marshall Gulch

About this Location

Marshall Gulch Picnic Area is located in the forest south of Summerhaven, on the upper slopes of Mt. Lemmon. Large outcrops of granitic rock, almost white against the background of a pine-needle-covered forest floor, are crisscrossed with dikes of even whiter pegmatite. Sabino Creek wanders through the picnic area as it begins its drop into the upper reaches of Sabino Canyon, one of the most beautiful canyons in the Southwest. With all that scenery conveniently close by, a good way to add spice to your lunch is to hike along one of the trails that start at this picnic area. Both Marshall Gulch Trail and the Aspen Trail provide access from the picnic area to the Santa Catalina Natural Area, where they connect to a broader network of trails on the southwestern slopes and canyons of the mountain range. Accessible to persons with disabilities. A large area of Pusch Ridge Wilderness is closed to dogs for the protection of desert bighorn sheep. Check with the Santa Catalina Ranger District for more information.

About Mt. Lemmon

See all hotspots at Mt. Lemmon

Approximately an hour's drive from Tucson's city center, Mount Lemmon is a favorite day trip and camping spot for Tucsonans. It's a beautiful outdoor escape, ideal for hiking, biking, rock climbing, picnicking, sunset watching, sledding, and skiing.

Mount Lemmon is usually 20-30 degrees cooler than Tucson, so you can find cooler temperatures there in the summer and a beautiful layer of snow in the winter, along with vibrantly colored leaves in autumn.

With a summit of 9,159 feet, Mount Lemmon is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The mountain was named for botanist Sara Plummer Lemmon, who trekked to the top of the mountain by horse and foot in 1881.

Mount Lemmon is a peak in the Catalina mountain range, surrounded by Coronado National Forest.

To reach Mount Lemmon from Tucson, turn off Tanque Verde Road onto Catalina Highway. Take Catalina Highway as far up the mountain as you desire to go!

On your way up the mountain, you may want to stop at Windy Point Vista (Mile Marker 14). This popular lookout point has bathrooms and is a terrific spot for photos.

Note that the road up the mountain is curvy with very few straight sections. If you or anyone in your car is prone to motion sickness, plan ahead by bringing bags, mints, cold water, snacks, or stomach-settling medications. It also helps to not drive on an empty stomach.

Take Catalina Highway northeast from Tanque Verde Road. For desert and mountain species, stop at picnic and campgrounds (Molina Basin, Bear Canyon, Rose Canyon Lake, and others) as you drive the narrow, winding road to high elevations.

Content from Official Website, Mount Lemmon Attraction Guide, and Tucson Audubon Society