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Mount Lemmon–Palisades Area

Coronado National Forest
Mount Lemmon, Arizona 85619
Palisades Trail webpage
Palisades area map

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eBird Hotspot

Pima County

Mt. Lemmon–Palisades area
Coordinates: 32.4104319, -110.7147995
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Birding in Arizona

About Palisades Trail
You’ll enjoy good views and get a tour of most of the biological life zones which grace the slopes of the Santa Catalinas along this moderate to a more difficult trail. From its upper terminus at Showers Point Group Campground, Palisade Trail starts out through stands of old-growth ponderosa pine and drops down the ridge which separates Palisade and Pine Canyons. Upper sections of the trail are shaded and carpeted with pine needles. Views through the trees extend into both canyons and to the Sabino Basin below. In the distance, the city of Tucson spreads across the broad Tucson Basin. Mud Springs is the only reliable water source along the Palisade Trail, and after dropping into Pine Canyon to visit it the trail sidehills back to the ridge to treat you to expansive views of Pine Canyon, parts of the central canyons of the Santa Catalinas and the Front Range. Below Mud Springs, the trail drops into lower Pine Canyon down a two-mile series of steep but solid switchbacks which tend to be brushy and rocky for much of their length. The trail can be hard to find in this area.

Take the Catalina Highway off Tanque Verde Road in Tucson. Drive 4.2 miles to the Forest boundary and continue 19 miles to Organization Ridge Road just downhill from the Palisade Visitor Information Center. Turn left here and drive a quarter mile down the Organization Ridge Road to the trailhead parking area. Trailhead parking is not available in the campground. The Catalina Highway is paved and suitable for passenger cars but it may be snow-covered in winter when chains or 4-wheel drive may be required. In winter, Organization Ridge Road is closed, so you’ll have to hike about a quarter mile to the trailhead
From Palisades Trail webpage

Tips for birding Mount Lemmon
Take Catalina Highway northeast from Tanque Verde Road. For desert and mountain species, stop at picnic and campgrounds (Molina Basin, Bear Canyon, Rose Canyon Lake and others) as you drive the narrow, winding road to high elevations.
From Tucson Audubon Society