Level: Intermediate to Advanced (3C – 3D)
Special Note: Green Mountain is a multi-use trail so be aware, though you generally won’t see too many hikers until you get close to the General Hitchcock Campground near the bottom.
Green Mountain is a VERY technical and fun ride up in the cool forest of Mt. Lemmon. Recent trail work has made this trail much more rideable than in previous years, but be warned, it still is quite technical and ALL riders will have to walk a few sections. Those without significant technical chops will have to walk even more. Some exposure, tight switchbacks, lots of rocks, roots and a good number of bone-jarring waterbars are better handled with longer-travel bikes, though it is certainly possible for hardtails. Armor is certainly recommended.
The upper trailhead starts at San Pedro Vista Point. At the southern end of the parking lot where the stone wall ends, you’ll see the trail head steeply up, which requires most to push their bikes. After this short push, you’ll crest the ridge and can see the trail leading away. Please note: Early on in the ride, after a couple sharp switchbacks, you’ll come to a “Y” intersection that is not marked/signed. Take the right fork and continue on your adventure.You will encounter fantastic views, some hike-a-bike, and epic riding. While Green Mountain has it’s share of serious technical areas, it is rated a 3C-3D mainly because the technical bits just keep getting thrown at you with very few breaks in between.
Be aware of hikers who may be climbing up from the campground at the base. The trail disappears at the bottom creek as you enter the campground. Exiting through the campground will put you right back out on Catalina Highway. Unless you leave a vehicle at the trail exit (or somewhere else), it’s a long ride back up Catalina Highway to the trailhead.
One popular option is to park vehicles at the Molino View parking lot just south of the Fee Station, and shuttle up to Green Mountain. From there, you can easily ride Green Mountain, Bug Springs, and Prison Camp, which ends just a mile or so uphill from your parked cars. One of our great sponsors, Southwest Trekking, offers a shuttle service for those interested. You need to have at least six riders, and the cost is usually around $15/person. Contact John at SWTrekking and tell him you found this on the SDMB site.
Directions: Take Mt. Lemmon Highway to the Vista Point Parking Area. Get on your bike, and start riding!