Quick… think of a place with mountains, cool breezes, aspen trees, streams and fern lined trails. Where a hike leads you to grand vistas where you can see for miles and watch clouds gather and burst forth into afternoon summer thunderstorms.
Did you think of southern Arizona? I didn’t think so. However a place like this exists high in the Santa Catalina Mountains that tower over Tucson. As you drive 40 miles up the mountain the temperatures cool as you gain elevation. While Tucson swelters in the desert heat, it’s a refreshing 35 degrees cooler at the end of your drive.
It’s hard to fathom that a mere few miles away Tucson is in the 100’s while it’s only in the 70’s where you are. In Arizona elevation makes a huge difference and you are 6,000 feet higher in the Catalina’s. Hiking may be a bit more difficult due to the thin air but you don’t mind. You’ve escaped the heat at least for a while. And it’s kind of fun making your way through chest high ferns instead of side-stepping cactus.