Mountain Biking Mt. Lemmon (Tucson), photojournal

Few people know that Tucson is home to gigantic Mt. Lemmon or that it is named after a woman named “Sara Lemmon”! (In the native Tohono O’odham language, it is called, “Babad Doʼag”, meaning “Frog Mountain”.)

Saguaro cacti surround the base of the mountain, and aspens crown the peak, which sits at 9,000+ feet above sea level!

I chose to do part of the famous (or infamous?) Lemmon Drop bicycle ride. I rode up Catalina Highway (from Molino Basin) and down Upper Green Mountain Trail, Lower Bug Springs Trail and the Arizona Trail (back to Molino Basin).

My Route:

Screen Shot 2018-05-26 at 7.49.23 PM

Views from Catalina Highway (paved):


Windy Point



View of Thimble Peak

There is a fair bit of hike-a-bike (HAB) on the Green Mountain Trail. In general, the Mt. Lemmon trails are difficult and remote. So, I brought multi-sport cycling shoes, a GPS SPOT Tracker (with a search and rescue function), a lightweight emergency sleeping bag, a miniature first aid kit, bike lights, water purification tablets, a warm base layer and the tools/parts necessary for basic bicycle repairs. Better safe than sorry! (This, and more, fits in a 50 oz hydration pack.)

Upper Green Mountain:




Lower Bug Springs:


Arizona Trail back to Molino Basin:


I hope y’all are having a great Memorial Day Weekend!


Author: sarahruthjansen

Sarah Ruth Jansen is an American scholar, philosopher, writer and outdoor adventurer. Between trimesters teaching philosophy in Minnesota Sarah bikepacked the Colorado Trail (Denver to Silverton) in 2014 and completed the cross-country Tour Divide Race in 2015. In 2016 Sarah won the Arizona Trail Race. You may contact Sarah at

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