Forest Service / BLM
Open: Open all year
Number of Sites: 17
About: 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 above.
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.
Directions: 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.
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