Located along the Control
Road up Mt. Lemmon’s north slope, this campground
is tucked away in a shallow, tree-filled canyon cut by
Peppersauce Creek through rolling foothills covered with
grass, oaks and yucca. Campsites at Peppersauce are spread
throughout a creekside oasis of enormous Arizona sycamores
and Arizona walnut trees that cast deep shade in summer
and a touch of color in autumn. These venerable trees
(and some equally notable clumps of poison ivy) cling
to the banks of Peppersauce Creek, which provides sufficient
moisture for them to prosper in spite of the fact that
its rocky streambed is dry most of the year. Of course,
beware of the flash floods -- this creek can become a
raging torrent in minutes when there is rain in the mountains
With its picturesque vegetation and dramatic setting at
the foot of Mt. Lemmon, this is an outstanding area for
enjoying an afternoon picnic or a weekend campout. But
while you’re here, you’ll want to keep an
eye on your hot sauce. This canyon was named by prospector
Alex McKay, who camped here in about 1880 and reported
that his hot sauce came up missing. The perpetrator (if
there was one) has yet to be apprehended.
Location: 6 miles southeast of Oracle on Forest Road 38
(40 miles northeast of Tucson).
Access: From Tucson, drive north on Oracle Road (US 89).
Continue for 27 miles to State Highway 77. Turn right
(east) and drive 10 miles to the town of Oracle. Take
the first Oracle exit and travel 4 miles through town
to Forest Road 38. Follow FR 38 to Peppersauce Canyon.
Barring unusual rain or
snow events, the unpaved Control Road up to Peppersauce
Campground is accessible by two-wheel drive sedans.
In dry conditions, a two-wheel drive high-clearance vehicle,
like a pickup, is usually sufficient for the drive from
Peppersauce Campground up to Mt. Lemmon. However, bad
weather can quickly erode sections of the Control Road,
so it is advised that travelers up to Mt. Lemmon use a
four-wheel-drive, high-clearance vehicle.
In winter, snow can quickly make the Control Road impassable
by any vehicle.
Obey the speed limit. Be prepared to stop. Be prepared
to turn around and return the way you came.
Season: Open year round.
A long, scenic drive
Open year round
Tables and fire grills
Toilets, not barrier free
Pack it in, pack it out.
Trailers are discouraged; sites are small and there are
Pack and saddle stock are not permitted in campground
or picnic area.
Pets must leashed at all times.