Best Of Tucson®

Best Wilderness Campground

Mount Lemmon (general)

Major portions of the mountain have been reduced from the best summertime show on Earth to a mere sideshow with perfunctory performances--but after all, the show must go on. The Bullock Fire of 2002 singed, damaged or totally destroyed 30,500 acres. The Aspen Fire of 2003 did the same to nearly three times that amount of acreage. While green grass and ferns have already begun to show their resiliency, the traditional color of the mountain has taken on a different hue--black and brown of burnt oak and juniper trees along with white ash where fire ravaged the slopes and canyons. For experienced and intrepid veterans who know their way around this battered sky island, there are still pockets of pretty to be found--sections of mountainside that were never touched by the flames. Other spots that for decades provided nature nooks for outdoor enthusiasts look like Dante's inferno came and went. Windy Point, the standard get-out-and-stretch portion of the ride up the mountain, has little to offer gawkers accustomed to a postcard view. It'll be a long time before it comes back.

Runners up:

2. TIE Happy Valley

3. TIE Madeira Canyon