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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!
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!
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-):
Do you have a favorite place in Southern Arizona? I'd love to hear about it!
If yu are in southern Arizona, and you enjoy rock climbing, surely you must be acquainted with Baboquivari Peak, southwest of Tucson. To the Tohono O'otam (sp?) Babo is the center of the universe and I am inclined to agree with them. All routes to the summit are technical and its majestic east face is the location of the first (perhaps only) grade six routes in Arizona.
I was introduced to technical climbing as a college sophomore many moons ago and learned a lot on its slopes.
To me Babo is just th first of many fabulous locales in southern Arizona. There's Mt Wrightson (Baldy), Rincon Peak, Sabino Canyon West Fork, the Chiricahuas, just to get started. Don't forget Picacho Peak....
@hikermor Yes! Baboquivari Peak is such a mystical and inspiring place! All of the places you have mentioned are amazing, and great places to explore the outdoors. Cochise Stronghold is also a great place for hiking, camping, and backpacking.