Cactus near summit
UN 7281, known as “Guthrie Mountain,” not to be confused with nearby lower, but officially named Guthrie Mountain (6,466 feet), rises to the southeast of Bear Saddle, above Bear Canyon. The peak sits northeast of the city of Tucson, Arizona, and is easily accessible from the Catalina Highway as it twists its way to the sky toward Mount Lemmon. The Catalina Highway is known as the road that, in terms of biology, can take the driver “from Mexico to Canada” as the vehicle ascends from the Sonoran Desert to the sub-alpine heights of Mount Lemmon.
“Guthrie Mountain” rises a couple thousand feet above the Sonoran Desert, but a couple thousand feet below the top of Mount Lemmon. “Guthrie Mountain” inhabits a middle zone. Its sandy slopes are cloaked in scrub oak and alligator juniper and ponderosa pine with a few random cactus plants poking from the rock near the summit.
highest peak in Arizona
Green Trails Maps Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona, No. 28865
Rank & Prominence Source: Lists of John
Burned out tree 1998 summit register
The vast majority of visitors to “Guthrie Mountain” will opt for an approach from the Catalina Highway (also referred to by some in town as the Mount Lemmon Highway and by the Forest Service as the General Hitchcock Highway). The General Hitchcock Picnic Area & Campground, a great jumping off spot to reach the summit of “Guthrie Mountain,” 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.
Note that the highway is paved, but longer vehicles (22 feet or greater) or those towing a trailer may have difficulty negotiating tight curves.
Manzanita Guthrie Mountain" from nearby highpoint
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.
Easy scrambling near 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
Confusingly referred to by many sources as the General Hitchcock Picnic Area, this picnic area also hosts a nice, shaded campground in the trees. Located at a large bend in the road, this campground is very convenient to “Guthrie Mountain.”
Weather & Seasons
Northeast from near summit |Spring and fall would be delightful times to visit Guthrie Mountain. In the summer, the heat blasting up from Tucson would make it hard to escape the heat even at more than 7,000 feet above sea level. Winter should typically be sunny and pleasant, but 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 “Guthrie Mountain,” I suggest checking the weather both for Tucson, Arizona, as well as for Mount Lemmon, knowing the weather on “Guthrie Mountain” will more than likely be someplace in between.
Southward from the summit Ridge toward "Guthrie Mountain"
Catalina Highway / General Hitchcock Highway