Entertainment Magazine: Arizona: Tucson: Mount Lemmon - Summerhaven

Mt. Lemmon in the summer- camp, hike and shop

The Santa Catalina Mountains, Mt. Lemmon and Summerhaven are open for summer activities.

Recent improvement to the hour-long drive up the Catalina Highway (General Hitchcock Highway) provides a smoother drive up the winding mountain. The Catalina Highway is the only paved road that leads to the top at Mt. Lemmon and Summerhaven.


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Road closures when summer monsoon weather is bad

With the heavy summer storms, there may be some travel restrictions on the Catalina Highway. Weather conditions can change quickly. When it is raining in the Tucson basin, there is a good chance that the Catalina Mountains are getting soaked. Check today's Mt. Lemmon weather and road conditions.

The main road to the top of Mount Lemmon, Ski Valley and Summerhaven village is usually open, unless weather conditions warrant a short closure.



Mt. Lemmon 4th of July Parade a splash!

Although the annual July 4th Independence Day Parade at Summerhaven started at the moment the rain did, hundreds of spectators braved the rain and hail to watch the parade.

Mt. Lemmon photos by Robert Zucker, 2014.

Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter

The Mt. Lemmon Sky Center observatory is a chance for children and adults to view the planets, galaxies, star clusters, nebulae, and comets from the top of Mt. Lemmon.

The Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter is an astronomy and science learning facility located on Mt. Lemmon, a desert "sky island" just north of Tucson, AZ.

The SkyCenter sits atop of a 9,157 foot summit near Mt. Lemmon. Participation with the University of Arizona provides educational adventures including:

SkyNights: A night-time observing program to peer beyond the blue horizons adorning our southwestern skies and explore astronomical wonders that have fascinated us from time immemorial. Star charts, binoculars and a superb 24-inch telescope are just some of the resources utilized in this program. Join as part of a group for evening hours or reserve the telescope all night and be treated as a visiting astronomer.

DiscoveryDays: Learn more about the scientific and natural wonders of Mt. Lemmon and the Catalina Mountains by interacting with UA scientists in this hands-on program. Topics include tree-ring science, hummingbird studies, updates on recent astronomical discoveries, ecology, and more.

SkyCamps:  An expanded program of weekend camps is offered for young people and adults. Participants engage in interactive programs with scientists from the University of Arizona, and have the opportunity to learn how research is done. In addition to the 24-inch telescope at the SkyCenter, the 61-inch telescope on Mt. Bigelow will be available for use, as well as solar telescopes and other instruments.  This is a continuation and enhancement of previous astronomy camps that Professor Don McCarthy conducted in the past. Some young people found Don McCarthy's astronomy camps to be a life changing experience, and had their eyes opened to a potential career in science or education. Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter websiteskycenter.arizona.edu/

The Naming of Mt. Lemmon

Mount Lemmon is named for botanist Sara Lemmon who discovered many species of plants on an 1881 expedition to the summit with her husband John Lemmon. The 40-mile Catalina Highway, opened in 1951, was built mainly by federal prisoners. 

In 1881, Botonists John Lemmon and his wife, Sarah, trekked up to the top of the Santa Catalina Mountains to explore and catalog plant life. Their first attempt was along the same route now followed by the Catalina Highway, but it was a rough and rugged climb. An Indian showed the Lemmons another route from the village of Oracle. There, they met with E.O. Stratton who guided them to the summit where they “christen(ed) it Mt. Lemmon in honor of Mrs. Lemmon, whow as the first white woman up there.” They carved their names in a tree to mark the spot. [1]

New life is now coming back to Frog Mountain- the name given to the Catalina Mountains by the Tohono O'odham Indians.

[1] “How Did Mt. Lemmon Get Its Name?” Mt. Lemmon General Store & Gift Shop. Mrs. Lemmon passed away in 1923. Mr. Lemmon died in 1908.

Read more about the histroy and legends of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Watch Video and VR Clips of Mt. Lemmon and Summerhaven.

Nixon Head Rock.near Mt. Lemmon, Santa Catalina Mountains

Shopping & Dining in Summerhaven

What to do when you get to the top of the mountain. Stores, restaurants and sites to see.

Ski Valley Skiing

Weather, Snow Report and Road Conditions

Updated continuous RSS weather reports on Mt. Lemmon and driving conditions from weather.com. Links to Mt. Lemmon weather web sites and phone numbers.

Mt. Lemmon Trails and Maps

View satellite and topographic maps of Mt. Lemmon, Summerhave and Catalina Mountains. Print color copies free.

Tucson, Arizona Events Guide

Video Clips


Snowfall in Summerhaven. Video clip of the first snow on Thanksgiving 2008

Fire on the Mountain. Watch a video clip from TEP looking at the Catalina Mountains during the 2003 fire. Other videos of Mount Lemmon and Summerhaven.

The Lost City in the Catalinas
Remnants of structures prior to the mining days of the 1880s have been rediscovered in the Catalinas.

Virtual Reality Scenes Spin the images and zoom in for more detail on VR scenes of Mt. Lemmon and Summerhaven.

Mt. Lemmon Photos


Up Mt. Lemmon Drive Up Mt. Lemmon- over a dozen photos, video clip movie, views of new growth, Summerhaven progress

Summerhaven renewal. See how Summerhaven looks.

Drive up Mt. Lemmon: Photo tour up the mountain to the Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley. See Nixon Head Rock.

Drive Up Mt. Lemmon Take an early winter drive up the mountain. Large photos and video clips of scenery, rock formations, and the latest construction pictures of Summerhaven.

Connect Online to Mt. Lemmon Internet links. Mt. Lemmon businesses, hiking spots, ski and weather conditions, road conditions, camping.

Tucson Hiking Guide

Author: Betty Leavengood

Squeezing the Lemmon II ...
more juice than ever:

A rock climber's guide to the Mt. Lemmon Highway, Tucson, Arizona by Eric Fazio-Rhicard (Author) published 2000, 324 pages.

Climbers guide to Sabino Canyon and Mount Lemmon Highway Tucson, Arizona

by John Steiger

Frog Mountain Blues

A story of Frog Mountain (Paperback)
by Charles Bowden, Jack W. Dykinga (Photographer)

Devastating fire brings life to Summerhaven

The village of Summerhaven, Arizona, atop the Catalina Mountains Mt. Lemmon north of Tucson, AZ, slowly recovers from the devastating Aspen Wildfire that started on Thursday, June 19, 2003. Watch a video of the Santa Catalina mountain fire.

Robert Zucker on Mt. Lemmon

EMOL.org publisher, Bob Zucker, stands above the town of Summerhaven where burned sticks and stumps are being cleared for a new community. More photos of the rebuilding of Summerhaven. Photo by Melinda Zucker

From the desert sand to the forest snow

Mt. Lemmon is a rare jewel in the hot Arizona desert. Jutting up 9,000 feet above sea level in the Santa Catalina Mountains 25 miles north of Tucson, Arizona, this magnificent mountain peak stands amidst the pale backdrop of the sparse desert sand and cactus.

Enjoy a tour up the mountain, watch videos of the new Summerhaven and fire that destroyed the village and scarred the mountainsides, and learn about the latest developments in the redevelopment of Summerhaven and Sabino Canyon Parkway.

When the summer heat beats down at more than 100 degree (F) in Tucson, visitors and residents enjoy about a 30 degree difference!

Some people accidently spell Mt. Lemmon as Mt. Lemon, Mount Lemmon, Mount Lemon or Mt. Lemman. If you spelled it wrong, Mt. Lemon is still in Tuscon, AZ. Either way, you have arrived at one of the top web site on Mount Lemmon and Summerhaven.



Tucson Entertainment Magazine | AZentertain.com

© 1995-2014 EMOL.org Mount Lemmon Entertainment Magazine.
EMOL.org / Tucson Entertainment Magazine / AZentertain.com All rights reserved.

How many Tucson musicians can you ID?

Step back into time - Tucson’s local entertainment scene from the 1950s to 1985

If you enjoyed listening to local Tucson musicians, or performed in Tucson, anytime between the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s through early 2000s, then you probably will be familiar with many of these people who performed music, theatre and comedy and nightclubs where they played. Read pages from a new book on Tucson music, Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades, provides a valuable historical perspective of the local Tucson entertainment and music scene.

Have you climbed to La Veñtana?

If you hike to La Veñtana, the Window, and have photos you'd like to see published in a new book about the mysteries of the Santa Catalina Mountains legends and history, email Bob at bob@emol.org.

Legends of lost mines, lost cities and a lost mission have been passed down by word of mouth for generations. The most famous legend, the Iron Door Mine, helped launch the early American hunt for gold in the 1850s. Read more about the legends and history of the Mysteries in the Santa Catalinas.

Arizona's Gold Rush

The Santa Catalina mountains has been experiencing a gold rush for hundreds of years.

Just below Mt. Lemmon lies some of the great stories and legends in the search for gold in the mountains- the Lost City, the Lost Mission and the lost Iron Door mine.

Explore the historical records that account for that thousands of pounds of gold and gold in quartz that has been extracted from the Santa Catarina (Catalina) mountains and the Canyon of Gold (Cañada del Oro). Read about Southern Arizona's Gold Rush.

Camping World

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Join the Sierra Club and Become a Sierra Club member.

Free Necklace with Men's Fox Purchase - an $8 value! While supplies last.

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Exclusive Mt. Lemmon Silver in Quartz

Cody StoneLocal prospector and artist, Flint Carter mines precious stones from Mt. Lemmon. FLint cuts, polishes and fabricates rings, necklaces, bracelets and other exquisite jewelry- all mined from his claims in the Santa Catalina Mountains. Own a piece of the mountain. Call Flint, the only legit source from Mt. Lemmon, at 520-289-4566. Browse a selection of Flint Carter's jewelry and art.

by Mary Ellen Barnes (Author)

As you wind your way up the Catalina Highway, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a first-time visitor or a native Tucsonan; you know you’re on the way to someplace special.

The Santa Catalina Mountains first captivated Tony Zimmerman on a 1937 hunting trip. Regard for the alpine beauty must have been in his genes—he was the son of Swiss German immigrants—and by 1940 the Tucson schoolteacher had begun taking his family to Mount Lemmon to spend the summer. Back then, the road up the mountain was a rough two-track dirt road from Oracle, and Summerhaven was nothing but a sleepy cluster of summer cabins. But Tony Zimmerman was to help change all of that.

The Road to Mount Lemmon is a beguiling memoir of the Catalina Mountains told by the daughter of one of the pioneers in the life and development of Mount Lemmon’s communities. Mary Ellen Barnes tells how her father Tony resigned from teaching in 1943 to devote his career to the development of this mountain oasis. He not only sold real estate for long time landowner Randolph Jenks, he even bought the village’s tiny two-room store, installing a sawmill to build a larger store, and built the Mount Lemmon Inn. And as she spins Tony’s personal saga, she also gives readers a glimpse of the Catalinas before Tucson became a boom town, recalling idyllic adventures in wild country and the cowboys, rangers, ranchers, and loggers who worked there.

Barnes tells Tony’s story as if sharing it with family, evoking her father’s personality on every page. The Road to Mount Lemmon is an intimate view of a mountain community over the course of nearly sixty years—a view that few people have shared but one all can appreciate.

Product Details
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: University of Arizona Press (June 11, 2009)