This weekend I'm on a getaway to Tucson, where it's impossible not to notice that the cactus, trees and desert flowers are in full bloom. Spring is the best time of year in the Southwest where you can see green trees for miles and flowers of almost every color popping out all over the landscape.
Hiking Mt. Lemmon, located in the north part of Tucson, reveals a variety of wildflowers as you drive up the curvy mountain road that offers spectacular views of southern Arizona. As you make your way up this scenic drive, you experience desert fauna including saguaros, brittle brush blooms and ocotillos. Once you begin to gain elevation, the temperature cools off and Mexican gold poppy and desert marigolds are growing wild along the roadside.
On the way to the very top, pull off to the side at Windy Point. A popular spot that offers photo worthy vistas, you'll find the young and old alike posing on the side of rock formations with amazing mountain views in the distance.
If you're a camper or just want to relax by a secluded lake, visit Rose Canyon. Off the main road, Rose Canyon features great camping spots, picnic areas and a lake stocked every season for avid fishermen. At this point, you're at 8,000 feet elevation making hiking a bit challenging.
My favorite spot is Summerhaven, a quaint mountain town almost at the very top of Mt. Lemmon. Filled with a cafe or two, old fashioned ice cream shops and more, Summerhaven is home to beautiful mountain homes. Rustic cabins for rent offer locals the opportunity to take advantage of cooler mountain air when the heat of the summer becomes unbearable.
If you're a skier, Ski Valley is your Mecca. At the very top of Mt. Lemmon, Ski Valley is located at over 9,100 feet elevation. Known for great ski runs, it's even more impressive in the spring and summer months. Playing host to a blanket of yellow wildflowers that will take your breath away, this spot is worth the trek up this picturesque mountain.