Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
8,235.00 ft (2,510.03 m)
Trail type
30.20 mi (48.60 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Sutherland Loop is a 30.2 mile route through the Pusch Ridge Wilderness and across the Santa Catalina Mountains. This loop route showcases the stunning diversity of Southern Arizona's landscapes, from the rugged Sutherland Trailhead to the serene heights of Mount Lemmon and back. It is an epic journey for seasoned hikers and backpackers seeking a challenging adventure with rewarding vistas, ecological diversity, and a sense of wilderness exploration.  

The route begins at the Sutherland Trailhead, located east of Oro Valley and northeast of Tucson, Arizona, and unfurls eastward to Romero Pass. As it ascends through deep canyons and verdant forests, hikers are treated to a rich tapestry of biodiversity. Along the way, you'll discover spectacular swimming holes, towering saguaros, and sections of steep, strenuous terrain.

Hikers will start with a gradual ascent via Sutherland Trail #6, which becomes more demanding as you near the Mount Lemmon Trail. The climb to Mount Lemmon Peak, standing tall at 9,159 feet as the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains, presents a formidable challenge but offers rewarding panoramic views of the enveloping desert and forest landscapes. At the summit, pause to appreciate the expansive vistas and your accomplishment.

From the peak, you'll descend via Aspen Trail #93. This section leads to Marshall Gulch Trail #3, featuring lush woodlands and creek-side trails.

Then, you'll return to Aspen Trail #93 and connect to Wilderness of Rocks Trail #44, revealing an enchanting landscape of rock formations and pine forests—a stark contrast to the desert terrain below.

The route proceeds along Mount Lemmon Trail #5 to Romero Pass, where you'll join the Romero Pass Trail. This portion navigates through varied terrain, incorporating steep descents, lush valleys, and occasional water crossings.

You'll continue on Romero Trail #8 and Romero Canyon Trail, leading back to the Sutherland Trailhead to conclude your journey.


Check with Coronado National Forest for any permit requirements for overnight camping. Parking fee is required at Catalina State Park.


Water sources can be scarce; carry sufficient water and a method to purify any found water.


Prepare for variable conditions; temperatures can fluctuate significantly with elevation.


  • No dogs allowed past Montrose Pools to protect the Desert Bighorn Sheep. 

  • No bikes in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness.

  • Trail not recommended for horses. 

  • There is a fee to park in Catalina State Park. Contact the park office to find out updated information.


Catalina State Park Information:

Catalina State Park Trails:

National Forest Service:

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

State Park Fee

Open Year-round





Peak Bagging. Scenic Vistas. Biodiversity.


Extreme changes in elevation. Extreme elevation gain.

Trailhead Elevation

2,722.00 ft (829.67 m)

Highest point

9,149.00 ft (2,788.62 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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