OverviewRappel Rock is located near the top of Mt. Lemmon in the Coronado National Forest, making it an ideal spot to escape the Arizona furnace and cool down a bit. The area is characterized by sweeping views and large “chickenhead” holds that are fun for both new and experienced climbers. It is a short hike off the road, but far enough to get a little solitude on the climb. Keep in mind that since this is near the top of Mt. Lemmon, Rappel Rock could be snowy and icy during the winter.
From the intersection of Tanque Verde and Kolb/Grant, head east on Tanque Verde until you get to the Catalina Highway, about 5 or 6 miles. Catalina Highway is the next light after the light for Bear Canyon Road. Turn left on Catalina Highway and drive towards the mountains, staying on the road as it climbs towards the Catalinas.
Thirty miles from Tanque Verde, turn right on Ski Run Rd, at the sign for "Ski Valley." If you get to Summerhaven you have gone too far; turn around and go back less than a mile to the Ski Run Rd.
Drive past the Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley, following the road as it twists and turns up towards the summit of Mt. Lemmon. You will pass a number of gates that are usually open. Turn left into a dirt parking lot, next to a fenced-in electrical substation, when you see a gate (usually closed) blocking the road.
After parking your vehicle, walk up the road past the gate, then turn left at a sign that marks trail 4400. This is the Mt. Lemmon trail.
When you see a sign that has the Mt. Lemmon trail and Meadow trail marked, continue on the Mt. Lemmon trail.
You will see a metal shed on the right hand side of the trail. Continue past this shed for another hundred yards until you see a trail lead off left, downhill toward the crags.
There is a large boulder in this area just below the trail. A few minutes on this trail will put you down in plain view of Rappel Rock. Follow the trail down and around the west (right) end of two smaller formations. You will be deposited at the back side of Rappel Rock. This is a good place place to gear up for the climb. Its also a good idea to scramble up and check out the descent.
To find the climbs, follow a vague, steep trail down and around east end of Rappel Rock. This trail is fairly well-defined in some areas and disappears in others. Expect to do some serious bushwacking.
This area is closed March 15 - June 30 for nesting pregerine falcons.
The Coronado National Forest charges an entry fee. Current fees are listed at:
Coronado National Forest fees
Specific routes are described at this link to route descriptions