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“We did the bicycle hill climb.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway

Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway
Tucson, AZ
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Ranked #4 of 122 Attractions in Tucson
Type: Scenic Drives, Landmarks
Attraction details
Vancouver
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“We did the bicycle hill climb.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

Fantastic scenery all the way up. Great road surface with a nice wide bike lane. Make sure to bring lots of water.

Visited April 2013
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Wayland, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
123 reviews 123 reviews
43 attraction reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Scenic day getaway”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

What a thrilling and scenic drive, going from Sonoran desert the alpine habitat in. One hour's drive. The rock for nations are amazing. Lots of trail heads to chose from at various elevations.

Visited April 2013
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New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Wonderful views”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

The climb 9,000 plus feet via a well maintained road is quiet nice. The homemade fudge sold at the General Store is the best.

Visited April 2013
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Guilin, China
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Don't Miss This”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2013

My first experience with Mt. Lemmon was in 1972 when we adventured up the mountain by "the back way" which is a primitive road up the north side of the mountains. It was the original access by prospectors and miners. The route might be hundreds of years old as the Spanish explorers’ mines in the Catalina Mountains. This route is still a unique experience if you have a reliable off road or sturdy 4wd vehicle.

We cheated today and took a nice slow trip up the paved road. My wife had never been up the mountain and I had not made the trip in 35 years. With a full gas tank, some drinks and some munchies we started out about nine in the morning. We stopped at every scenic pull out, walked around and took many pictures for our friends and family in China.

The air conditioning went off a short way up the mountain and the windows were opened to enjoy the cool and fresh air. The scenery was as awesome as always. To go from the 1200' desert to the 9,000' pine forest on the top is amazing. If you want to experience the full range of vegetation between those elevations, this is the way to do it.

It was heart breaking to see the destruction caused by the 2003 Aspen Fire. The Summerhaven area was once lush and gorgeous. It was good to see the number of houses and cabins that have been rebuilt.

The Summerhaven Restaurant is a great place for a meal or snack or even just a good cup of coffee.

My original plan was to visit the Iron Door Restaurant at the base of the ski slope and maybe ride the chair lift to the mountaintop. Alas, they happened to be closed today. We did drive beyond the ski area towards the observatories (There is a gate preventing entry to the observatories. I have never known them to be open to the public). On that, 1.5-mile road there was still snow on the shaded slopes. Not bad for a 92 degree Tucson to have snow along the road just outside of town on April 24.

If you visit, Tucson Mt. Lemmon and the Sonora Desert Museum are must stops.

Visited April 2013
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Portland
Top Contributor
213 reviews 213 reviews
62 attraction reviews
Reviews in 81 cities Reviews in 81 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
“A nice, leisurely drive”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

Leisurely is the key word ... it's a windy road so you don't make time. But the whole Mt. Lemmon experience is about seeing the sights and enjoying the journey. Take the scenic turnouts -- this sin't a race! It's noticably cooler in Summerhaven at the end of the Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway, so it's a good ride on a sizzling day in Tucson. Stop for a beer or some food in Summerhaven -- there are several places with decks to enjoy the view and the food.

Visited March 2013
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