Summerhaven: Small Town Hidden in Mt. Lemmon

Tucked far inside Mount Lemmon is the tiny unincorporated town of Summerhaven, AZ.  The settlement sits at an 8,000 feet elevation with around 40 residents.  To get to Summerhaven, you have to travel up a curvy narrow road which you gain access from the Catalina Highway which is northeast of Tucson.  The drive is about 24.5 miles straight up.  We saw several bike riders pumping their way up the mountain. (Not for me!) 

In the 1870s and 1880s, Summerheaven was originally operated by the U.S. Army at Fort Lowell in Tucson.  This military camp was utilized as security against the Apache citizens.  It was the perfect defense location because of being encircled by pine trees.
Today in Summerhaven, you will find a general store, small shops, Sawmill Run Restaurant and The Cookie Cabin.  The Sawmill restaurant is where we had the best bacon cheeseburger and fries.  The Cookie Cabin has fresh homemade cookies and pizzas every day.  Many travel to this small town in the mountains for the fantastic weather, hiking, biking and skiing.  The Mount Lemmon Ski Valley is located just minutes outside of Summerhaven.  Since October of 2010, they have an annual running of the Mount Lemmon Marathon.  Almost 800 partakers completed the race which starts at the Catalina Highway and ends in Summerhaven.

In the summer of 2003, Summerhaven is almost wiped away by the Aspen wildfire.  It destroyed more than 250 of the 700 homes in the area.  The locale is still recovering from the fire even today which was evident during our visit.  Also, if you plan to visit Summerhaven, make sure you have a full tank of gas because there is no gasoline or automotive services in town or nearby.


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