While many people hear the word "Arizona" and think "desert," "dry," "hot," and my all time favorite, "Why would I want to live there?", this state has so many hidden gems, many of which are located in the Southern part of the state. 

Below I have shared some images of one of my favorite locations near Tucson, AZ. I hope you share yours as well!

Mt. Lemmon, Southern Arizona (2017)Mt. Lemmon, Southern Arizona (2017)

I love this image because it is such a great example of how Southern Arizona holds so much more than a hot, dry, desolate landscape. Mount Lemmon is located in the Coronado National Forest, just North of Tucson, Arizona. It gets its name from the botanist Sara Plummer Lemmon, who trekked to the mountain's peak in 1881. The Catalina Highway is a 25-mile paved road that allows visitors and residents to drive from Tucson to the summit. This mountain is such an interesting example of ecology, as it contains 5 different biomes that represent the plants and animals found as far South as the U.S.-Mexico border, and as far north as the U.S.-Canada border. Because of its varying climates, Mt. Lemmon offers a wide range of outdoor activities year-round (the Lower Mountain in Fall/Winter, and the Upper Mountain in Spring/Summer). People can sight-see, camp, hike, backpack, rock climb, mountainbike, and more, during all 4 seasons. There's even a place to ski during the winter!

Waterfall on Mt. Lemmon (2017)Waterfall on Mt. Lemmon (2017)

In the winter, Mt. Lemmon often gets snow, and that snow melts in the spring, creating beautiful rivers, streams, and waterfalls throughout the mountain.

In terms of rock climbing, one of my biggest outdoor passions, Mt. Lemmon is a great choice. It has thousands of routes, including single-pitch & multi-pitch sport, single- and multi-pitch trad, and aid. Many of these routes can be found right off the highway, which is nice for those desiring a short approach. For those not drawn to crowds, there are many options off the beaten path. Mt. Lemmon routes are also known to have some of the most scenic (in my opinion) and unique views, such as that of Steve's Arete (5.11-):

Steve's Arete, 5.11- (2018)Steve's Arete, 5.11- (2018)


Steve's Arete, 5.11- (2018)Steve's Arete, 5.11- (2018)

Do you have a favorite place in Southern Arizona? I'd love to hear about it!


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.