Kellogg Mountain summit cairn
Kellogg Mountain is a stubby little companion peak to Mount Bigelow in the Santa Catalina Mountains rising about the city of Tucson, Arizona. The southern slopes of the mountain bear the scars of wildfire (perhaps the 2002 Bullocks Fire or the 2003 Aspen Fire). Grasses flourish in the open sunlight where the now-scorched Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir once cast their shade. The upshot of this fire damage is that views to the south are mostly wide-open (for now), though Gambel Oak area beginning to re-colonize the peak. The gentle summit, covered in talus, features (at the time of my visit) an interesting cairn and plenty of places to sit and enjoy lunch, take in some views, and escape the searing heat of the Sonoran Desert, below.
Rank & Prominence: Lists of John
Dark, brooding clouds over the summit of Kellogg Mountain
This peak can be accessed by trail or service road from at least four different directions, though most visitors would be content to gain the summit from the General Hitchcock Highway, also known as the Catalina Highway or the Mount Lemmon Highway. The Palisade Visitor Center (milepost 19.5), a great jumping off spot to reach the summit of Kellog Montain, can be reached within an hour of downtown Tucson. Take Tanque Verde (often pronounced “TANKy VURdy by the locals) diagonally across the northeast edge of town to East Catalina Highway. Follow East Catalina Highway North for about 4.5 miles to the Forest Service boundary. Here the road becomes the General Hitchcock Highway…or the Catalina Highway…or the Mount Lemmon Highway.
West slopes of Kellogg Mountain Bigelow from Kellogg
Users of the Mount Lemmon area, including the Catalina Highway, are subject to a $5 vehicle / use fee.
Visit this National Forest webpage
for detailed regulations governing use of this area.
Grassy Southern Slopes At the Kellogg Mountain summit
The Santa Catalina Ranger District operates several campgrounds along the Santa Catalina Highway to Mount Lemmon. These are (in distance up the highway from the valley):
• Molino Campground
• General Hitchcock Campground
• Rose Canyon Lake
Weather & Seasons
| || Kellog Montain is a year round mountain. Predictably, spring and fall would be delightful times to visit this peak. In the summer, the heat blasting up from Tucson could make it hard to escape the heat, but at more than 8,500 feet above sea level, the peak offers some escape from the heat. Winter should typically be sunny and pleasant, but can be cold, windy and snowy. Occasional snowstorms slamming the Santa Catalina Mountains might close the “highway with many names,” or at least encourage the Forest Service to put a “4x4 or chains only” rule in effect.|
Before planning a trip to Kellog Montain, I suggest checking the weather both for Tucson, Arizona, as well as for Mount Lemmon or Summerhaven, as the road to the peak will cover both extremes and everything in between.