Summerhaven, Arizona is a town on the summit of Mount Lemmon, located in the Santa Catalina Mountains of Tucson, Arizona. With a very different climate and setting than the close by Tucson atmosphere, located at 8,200 feet in elevation, Summerhaven is noticed by many for its quaint, woodsy charm. Originally, the location was established by the US Army at Fort Lowell as a military camp while defending the Apache people in the 1870's and 1880's. Travel from the base of the mountain to the town limits of Summerhaven is 24.5 miles up General Hitchcock Highway with scenic views, beautiful rock formations, and tourist stops along the way. With a very small population of 40 people living in the 85619 area recorded by the US ZCTA, the main tourist attractions are a few locally known shops and the winter seasons. Compared to Summerhaven's surrounding areas, the mountain gets an average of 65 inches of snow per year, bringing people from all around southern Arizona. Summerhaven is also recognized for The Mount Lemmon Ski Valley located right outside town limits, which is the southernmost ski location in the United States.
The town of Summerhaven contains these notorious businesses today:
- Mt. Lemmon Cookie Cabin
- Karen's Sky Mountain Realty
- Living Rainbow Mountain Craft Gallery
- Sawmill Run Restaurant
- Mt. Lemmon Community Center
- Mt. Lemmon Fire department (Located very close to Summerhaven)
- Mt. Lemmon General Store
- Mt. Lemmon Post Office
- Mt. Lemmon Realty
- Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley
Ski Valley was created by the Sahuaro Ski Club, made up of Lowell Thomas, a well known journalist and adventurer, his son, later to be a Governor of Alaska, an Olympic ski jumper, and a local forest ranger during World War II. Lowell Thomas kick started the club and sent honorary memberships to his famous friends around the country, making it something of an exclusive club. The first year of the club discovery, a ski gala was held at the Arizona Inn, and that was the beginning of the Mount Lemmon Ski Valley.Add a caption
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- Mt. Lemmon Water Cooperative
- Pima County WasteWater
- Zimmerman Elementary School (No longer open)
In 2003, the Aspen wildfire encompassed Summerhaven, causing damage to two-thirds of the homes and seven out of nine businesses located on the mountain. The mountain was very susceptible to a fire due to bone-dry condition and natural thick layers of pine needles and dry sediment, that resulted from many years without fire. The cause of the fire was believed to be a cigarette from a hiker that would have easily created flames from the dry brush built up on the forest floor. The fire began very small, but due to Summerhaven's location, it was a downslope and upwind of the town; causing officials to evacuate the mountain of all residents and workers. The fire was devastating to all that reside and visit Mount Lemmon and causes all those who have returned to be extra careful and take all precautions on their properties and homes for the future. Summerhaven has rebuilt much of the lost town, but is still slowly being rebuilt, thanks to the help of the "Lemmon Aid" campaign organized by Tucson citizens. Many people still continue to visit Summerhaven and continue to add on to it's legacy and history.
The following businesses were destroyed in the fire:
- Aspen Trail Bed and Breakfast
- Mt. Lemmon Suites & Fine Crafts
- Summerhaven Coffee House
Books and resources about the history of Mount Lemmon including Summerhaven:
- The Road to Mount Lemmon: A Father, a Family, and the Making of Summerhaven
- Life Stories: Mt. Lemmon's namesake was female explorer
"Mt. Lemmon General Store & Gift Shop." Mt Lemmon General Store Gift Shop. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2015.
"Ski Valley Mount Lemmon." Ski Valley. N.p., n.d. Web.
"Summerhaven, Arizona." Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web.
"Town of Summerhaven Back after Devastating Fire." Azcentral. N.p., n.d. Web.