Mt. Lemmon Ascent

18.6 miles

2750 - 9100 ft. 

Total gain: 7050 ft.


This is one tough run. For the distance, it’s probably the toughest run we do. Total climbing is around 7500 feet, with a very steep section above Romero Pass.  I’ve seen people literally collapse at the end of this run. I’ve seen a 2:24 marathon runner stretched out on a rock a half mile above Romero Pass. With the trail damage and overgrowth in Sabino West Fork and up to Romero Pass, the run has also gotten significantly more difficult. Now that I’ve said all that, this is also a very beautiful and satisfying run. To ascend from the desert of Tucson to the forested top of the Santa Catalinas, with great scenery along the way, is a pretty special experience.

Trailhead: Start at Sabino Canyon Visitor’s Center. $8 fee or Coronado Recreational Pass or National Pass/America the Beautiful Pass

Route: Up Sabino Canyon to the Basin, Sabino West Fork to Romero Pass, then Lemmon Trail to the top. You may have to run 1.75 mi down the road to Ski Valley if the road is closed.

Darrel's Ode to Lemmon Ascent

Here's a map I made after my 2009 ascent with a good GPS. Between the GPS and Maptech, the climb is estimated at 7500 feet.  Click to see the full sized map.

Note that this elevation chart is in meters: