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Snow Day Tips for Mount Lemmon, AZ

February 1, 2021

Any Tucsonan will tell you that the biggest highlight of the winter season is when a snow storm hits Mount Lemmon! Snow days are not to be missed, so plan a day trip this weekend.

8 Tips for a Successful Snow Day at Mount Lemmon

Included in this post are my eight tips for a successful snow day after fresh snowfall. During your drive up, chains and four-wheel drive vehicles may or may not be required. And if there was a large snowfall, then I recommend staying on the main streets that are plowed.

Whether you’re looking to build a snowman, ski and snowboard, take photos, or support a local restaurant, below are my eight tips for a successful snow day at Mount Lemmon:

1. Call the Road Condition Hotline

Before driving up, call the Pima County Sheriff’s Department’s Road Condition Hotline for the latest updates, at (520) 351-3351! This number will list if chains and four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles are required. You can also find out who is allowed access, which can range anywhere from complete road closure to residents/employees to everyone.

This Twitter profile also will post when the road closes to the public, with the exception of employees and residents. Access to the road will also close if traffic capacity is reached– meaning they’re out of public parking.

2. Drive Safely

Practice caution while driving on the mountain. Be on the lookout for ice patches, and rocks that may have fallen from the heavy snowfall. Additionally, avoid driving on smaller streets that haven’t been plowed if you do not have chains or 4WD.

3. Get an Early Start

Summerhaven isn’t filled with an unlimited amount of parking, so it is common for the traffic to be controlled at the base once capacity is reached. Traffic capacity can be reached as early as 7:00am on a Saturday. However that’s not always the case. After fresh snowfall, my friends and I drove up at 8:00am and saw no traffic at the base.

4. Check the Ski/Snowboard Conditions

After a large snowfall, Mt. Lemmon Ski Resort is typically open for snowboarding and skiing activities. But I recommend calling in advance. Lift ticket sales are only sold in person at the resort. Call 520-576-1400 for the latest updates.

To reserve ski equipment or ski lessons, call 520-576-1321 once you arrive to the resort. Equipment cannot be reserved online, and and lessons are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

NOTE: The resort is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Lift Ticket Cost (All Day)

  • Adults (13 and up): $69
  • Seniors: $59
  • Military: $59
  • Children: $39

Lift Ticket Cost (Half-Day, after 12:30pm)

  • Adults (13 and up): $59
  • Seniors: $55
  • Military: $55
  • Children: $35

Equipment Rentals

  • Adult/Child–Skis, Boots, Poles: $45/$40
  • Skis: $27.50
  • Snowboard and Boots: $45 ($200 deposit required)
  • Snowboard Boots: $27.50 ($100 deposit required)
  • Helmet/Poles: $8

5. Plan for Longer Waits at Restaurants

Expect longer delays at the restaurants due to limited capacity. There are three different restaurants to visit: Iron Door, Sawmill Run Restaurant and the Mt. Lemmon Cookie Cabin. The fudge is also a must-have from the Mt. Lemmon General Store.

6. Take Your Garbage (and Broken Sleds)

Please clean up and take your garbage with you down the mountain. Do not walk inside of a business or restaurant just to give them the garbage bag from your day trip. They are responsible for only taking care of the garbage in their restaurants. Please also take any broken sleds with you.

7. Pack Snacks and Plenty of Water

Walking around and playing in the snow can take a lot of energy! So make sure you pack some snacks and plenty of water to stay replenished. On our trip up, I brought healthy snacks likes carrots, celery and peanut butter, peanut butter crackers, etc. In between, you can visit one of the local eateries.

8. Bring a Change of Clothes

If you’re planning to play or walk around in the snow, you will definitely want to bring a change of clothes. Or in the very least, a change of socks and shoes.

For more Arizona and travel content, follow me on Instagram, @happilypinkblog!


  • Jenni Zimmerman

    February 1, 2021 at 9:06 pm

    Just a friendly note that it is actually illegal to put snow on your car and drive down the mt, the deputies find it a hazard because it flies up to the car behind you. I have seen cars pulled over and having to remove the snow.

    Thanks for the article,

    1. Natalie Moe

      February 2, 2021 at 3:27 pm

      Hi Jenni! Thank you for your comment and for letting me know. I had never heard of this being an issue, so I called the PCSD right now and asked if it was illegal. They said it is not illegal to put snow in the bed of your truck or to place snow on the front of your windshield. I will let people know to not place excessive amounts of snow on their car. Thank you for looking out for our community!

    2. Brayden Crawford

      March 24, 2024 at 4:56 pm

      Hello, I noticed that your last name is Zimmerman, and wondered if you are related to Tony Zimmerman. I am 13 years old and I live in southern Michigan. After coming to Tucson/Mount Lemmon in 6th grade, I absolutely fell in love with the natural beauty of the Santa Catalina Mountains. It seems as if Tucson has everything to offer. This spring break will be the 3rd time we are visiting Tucson. I have been studying the environment, flora, and fauna of the Santa Catalina Mountains ever since the first time I came here.

  • Rachel Willis

    February 2, 2021 at 8:01 am

    How did I not know about the Tucson tradition?!?! Totally doing it next time I go!!! Great tips, thanks!

    1. Natalie Moe

      February 2, 2021 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Rachel! Yes!! My family and I always did this. When you’re up there, you may notice some cars off to the side throwing some snow on their windshield as a badge of honor hehe. And of course don’t forget to grab fudge and cookies on your way down! I’m going back up to collect content for a food post.

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