Sky Island Byway Map

Overview

Explore a section of vast biological diversity in just a few short miles, in Arizona’s Sky Island Scenic Byway. The byway begins in the arid desert, surrounded by redrock, spectacular rock formations, and giant saguaro cacti. Stop along several locations to enjoy recreation, or drive straight through to reach Summerhaven – a village located in a beautiful conifer forest. This byway offers a short distance to see amazing views of the islands in the sky (the clouds that are nearly level with the high altitude you reach).

27 miles / 43.8 km, Mt. Lemmon Highway, Tucson to Ski Valley

Key Attractions

  • Grand, rocky cliffs with spectacular views over the arid desert

  • Large populations of the towering saguaro cacti

  • Many unusual rock formations, or hoodoos, including the Geology Vista and Goosehead Rock

  • Ruins of the old WWII internment camps

  • The skyride at the Mt Lemmon and the beautiful aspen-forests at mountain-top

  • Popular pastimes, including: rock climbing, horseback riding, skiing, camping at Rose Canyon Campground, and hiking or fishing at Rose Canyon Lake

  • Retail shopping and relaxing in Summerhaven, AZ – at the end of the route, located in a higher altitude and conifer forest

  • To see pictures of locations along the byway, click here

Location

  • Located in SE Arizona, 14 miles from Tucson, Arizona

  • Directions from Tucson:

    • Take Speedway Blvd east (from the intersection of Speedway Blvd & Campbell Ave) - N 32.236° W 110.944°

    • Follow the Blvd until Wilmot Road, curve onto Tanque Verde Road

    • Turn to the left onto Catalina Hwy

    • The byway begins here, it turns into Mt Lemmon Hwy before passing into Coronado National Forest

    • Intersection of Catalina Hwy and Mt Lemmon Short Rd, Tucson - N 32.304° W 110.745°

  • Names of roads that are part of the byway:

    • Catalina Hwy

    • General Hitchcock Hwy

    • Mt Lemmon Hwy

  • To drive the byway:

    • Drive northeast on Mt Lemmon Hwy from the junction at E Catalina Hwy & N Lemmon Short Road

    • Follow Mt Lemmon Hwy to Summerhaven, AZ, the end of the byway

More Information

  • View map
  • Web site
  •  Gasoline is only available in Tucson
  • There are restrooms along the way, and camping is available in the Santa Catalina Ranger District
  • Some stops along the way require $5 passes to enter

(This site is funded in part by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration.)