“High alpine to the desert floor - a 9,000' difficult drop.”
— Vernie Aikins on May 13, 2013
OverviewSee Lemmon Drop for a shorter version of this ride.
The Full Lemmon Drop is a HUGE ride. It consists of linking multiple trails from the very top of Mt. Lemmon all the way to the base. It is extremely difficult and extremely amazing. Not many rides in the US have you going from high alpine all the way down to the desert floor.
Need To KnowThe mobile app, GPS or guide needed is needed. Most trails are not marked or poorly marked. A shuttle is definitely recommended unless you want to ride up 15 or so miles of road at the start or end of your ride.
DescriptionThe first trail of the day will be Aspen Draw into the town of Summerhaven - a nice, fast, techy 2.5 mile stretch with no climbing. From the end of Turkey Run road make a right into town and head down the road to Sunset Trail for some exposure and definite hike-a-bike sections.
From Sunset Trail your next trail will be 1918. After 1918 you'll want to take Bear Wallow road all the way up to the Towers at the top. This is will be about a 2.5 mile climb on nicely graded dirt. There will be two spots to watch for along the way. The first will be about a mile on Bear Wallow road where the road splits. Stay to the left and continue up. Then about another .5 miles form there it splits again and again you stay to the left. After that it is straightforward to the top. At the top by the towers is where you'll get onto Mt Bigelow for a bit. About .5 miles from the top of the towers will be a 4-way intersection to connect you to Kellog/Incinerator Ridge. At the 4 way you are just roughly 9 miles in the Full Lemmon Drop.
From there, continue on to Kellog/Incinerator Ridge. Incinerator Ridge is possibly the hardest trail on Mt. Lemmon and also the newest trail built by the Forest Service on the mountain. It's extremely difficult. It's loose, steep, rocky, and has very tight switchbacks
From there it's Green Mountain, which begins with a short uphill into good, technical singletrack. There's always a possibility that you'll encounter large trees that have fallen across the trail you may have to climb over.
About halfway along the trail there's a longer uphill section, but not as steep, followed by a good amount of fun downhill along the hiking path with stairs to drop down. Watch for hikers along here and remember to yield.
There are a couple forks in the trail so be careful to follow the correct route unless you want an adventure.
Followed by Bug Springs, which begins by heading up the man-made stairs to the top of the ridge before descending into the valley on the other side. You'll encounter a mix of some technical bits, a few switchbacks, and some fun, fast lines through the forest. Then there's another short run of stairs up to a great view of the range below.
Here is where you'll want a few options. It's a very long day and there's no water along the way except for at the very top when you are 3 miles into the day. You'll want to make a decision on where to drop water and maybe even lunch. Some drop water and supplies before they do Bug Springs. Some drop at Molino Basin. I tend to like to drop at Molino. Bug Springs has a tough hike-a-bike and I tend to not want to carry my newly filled camelback up it. Plus Molino has more places to stash a cooler on the way up the mountain.
Either way it's up to the riders. Both Bug and Molino are at the lower elevations so you'll want to have water more then likely somewhere in there.
After Bug Springs comes Molino Basin or some call it Prison Camp. You'll cross the highway after completing Bug and will then end up in a camp area. Continue all the way to the very back of the camp to pick up the Molino Basin trail which is also part of the Arizona Trail. This is where it starts to get tough. Molino Basin, Bellota AZT, and La Milagrosa are all at lower elevations and hot. Plus they are extremely difficult and will test ever riding skill you have.
So the next order of trails goes:
Arizona Trail: Bellota
Then you are done for the day. You should have a nice hefty 30 miles behind you and hopefully an amazing epic day.
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4.0 from 4 votesGreat views and great DH's heading east on Bellota towards La Milagrosa (Tucson, AZ)
4.0 from 3 votesNothing like a log stuck in your wheel to bring a halt to your bike... (Oro Valley, AZ)
3.8 from 4 votesTechy spot right before left hand junction. (Oro Valley, AZ)
3.5 from 4 votesStandard fair for Aspen Draw (Oro Valley, AZ)
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