Seasonal road closures on Mt. Lemmon - Tucson News Now

Seasonal road closures on Mt. Lemmon

Snow on Mt. Lemmon (Source: Tucson News Now) Snow on Mt. Lemmon (Source: Tucson News Now)
MT. LEMMON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Get ready for seasonal closures on Mt. Lemmon due to winter weather.  

Several seasonal roads and day-use sites in the upper elevations of Mt. Lemmon, have had their gates closed and locked temporarily, by the Santa Catalina Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest.  

The Catalina Highway, the main road leading up the mountain, will remain open but may close periodically due to weather-related issues.  

Roads and day use sites affected by winter weather will be closed annually on the same date, December 15, and reopen on March 1, unless weather conditions render them unsafe before or after those dates.  Forecasts of an approaching winter storm this weekend could bring conditions leading to earlier gate closures. 
 
Public safety is the main reason for the seasonal closures, but they also assist district personnel in reducing road maintenance that comes after damage to forest roads during winter.  Freezing and thawing of the forest road surfaces this time of year can make them more prone to damage from vehicles, which then results in poor road conditions in the spring and summer when the demand for their use is highest. 

While many roads will be closed to vehicle traffic, they will remain open to hikers, cross country skiers, bicyclists and other non-motorized users.

Roads and day use sites affected by the seasonal closure are:

  • Lower, Middle, and Upper Control roads,
  • Marshall Gulch Road,
  • Lower and Upper Bear Wallow roads,
  • Bigelow Road,
  • Incinerator Ridge Road,
  • Organization Ridge Road,
  • the road into General Hitchcock
  • the Lemmon Rock Road to the top of Mt Lemmon above Ski Valley.  
  • The roads into Rose and Spencer canyon campgrounds were closed at an earlier date when the recreation areas were closed for the season.

Public safety and road maintenance contribute to the need for seasonal road and day use site closures.  Hazardous road conditions including snow and ice make travel difficult.  Often, people in vehicles become stranded, resulting in emergency responses by Forest Service staff, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, and towing companies. 

The goal is to reduce any impact to people by closing seasonal roads and sites. 

Lower elevation recreation sites will be open for public use, including:

  • Molino Basin Campground
  • Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Area
  • Peppersauce Campground

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