Yes, you can ski in Tucson, Arizona. However, we prefer to drive the 25-mile byway in the summer for cooler weather. This winding byway trail ascends 9,157-foot Mount Lemmon in the rugged Santa Catalina Mountains.
Sky Island Scenic Byway: Mount Lemmon Highway to Summerhaven Scenic Drive
Along the way there are many pull off points where you can stop and take a photograph or just take in the view.
Barnum Rock was important to prevent the spread of wildfires in the early 1920’s. Honorary Boy Scouts would be stationed on this rock to help the Forest Service be on a lookout for forest fires. Barnum Rock is the higher rock with least amount of trees on it. Can you imagine being stationed out there?
The San Pedro Valley Viewpoint is an expansive view. On a clear day you can see all the way to New Mexico.
The Sky Island Scenic Byway offers incredible mountain vistas that lead you deeper into the national forest. Your drive will work your way through the desert and into a forest of tall pines.
It is much cooler up here (about 20 degrees cooler) than in downtown Tucson. Due to the cooler temperatures, Mt. Lemmon is a popular summer destination and a great spot to camp and hike.
Top of the Mountain
At the top of Mt. Lemmon is a small town, mostly filled with summer homes, appropriately named Summerhaven. A great retreat for people to escape the summer desert heat. There are only a few shops and restaurants up here. Few people realize that Tucson is home to the southern-most ski hill in the country.
Directions: There are a lot of turns! From Phoenix drive down I-10 to Tucson and take exit 248 toward Ina Rd (becomes E Skyline Drive). Stay straight to go onto E Sunrise Drive,turn right onto N Kolb Rd (becomes N Sabino Canyon Rd). Turn left onto E Tanque Verde Rd,turn left on to E Cataline Hwy (becomes Sky Island Pkwy) Sky Island Pkwy (becomes N General Hitchcock Hwy) N General Hitchcock Hwy becomes N Sabino Canyon Park
Expect the drive to take about 3 hours of drive time to the top and back.