Backway to Mount Lemmon

Total Miles


2410.9 ft


3 Hours

Technical Rating



Best Time


Trail Overview

Many drivers opt to skip this unremarkable backroad. There is a 6-mile section of the road that climbs and winds up the mountain, but other than that, it is pretty uneventful. Unlicensed vehicles are okay on Forest Road 38, but Rice Peak is your more appealing option.


Easy: Most of the road is smooth gravel. The upper part gets a little rougher, but any 4-wheel-drive SUV can do it. Very dusty when dry.


The area is slowly recovering from the 2003 Aspen Fire, which burned over 84,000 acres and destroyed 340 homes and businesses in the town of Summerhaven at the top of the mountain.

Technical Rating


Access Description

Head north on Oracle Road, Highway 77, from Tucson. Just past mile marker 100, turn right on American Avenue. Continue another 2.7 miles to road marked Mt. Lemmon Highway on right. We start the trail here even though this part is still paved. Last chance to get gas in Oracle.