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So I am heading back to Tucson next week and want to ride up Mt. Lemmon (at least partway :))

My problem is that from my hotel - Loew's Ventana Canyon - the route on google shows I have to dip down all the way south to Tanque Verde and then cut back north to clear Sabino Canyon/Bear Creek area on the way to the climb. Yet the way back shows an alternate route-- staying north on E. Snyder road and travelling through the Sabino Canyon area... and showing part of the road as a Toll Road? :confused:

Any locals know if this is a viable route both out to Mt Lemmon and back to Ventana Canyon? Staying north would allow me more time to climb, haha!
Appreciate any info/suggestions.
 

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The northern route takes you across Sabino Creek wash (this is the route El Tour uses), it is dry sand, may have to carry your bike depending on how loose the sand is. You actually go through Canyon Ranch Resort - if you google earth it, you can see the path connecting E Rockcliff Road and E Summer Trail. There are no toll roads in Tucson, there is no charge to ride your bike on Mt Lemmon.

From the west side, you do ride through a guard gate on Rockcliff (be sure to smile and wave nicely to the guard - no one ever stopped me or even asked me where I was going) once in Canyon Ranch continue straight and to right at back of parking area and you should see the wash crossing. It is dry this time of year.

You can also pull up the map for El Tour of Tucson on their website, and it shows the crossing too.

I was on Mt Lemmon last weekend and it is getting cold up there, be prepared for 10-20 degrees cooler at elevation then at the base.

There is also a nice road into Sabino Canyon, again no charge to ride your bike. The road is only open to cyclists before 9AM and after 5pm (when the tram is not running) and closed to cyclists on Saturdays and Wednesdays.

Enjoy your trip.
 
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