Molino

Tucson, Arizona

Overview

Visitors are drawn to Molino Campground for its group camping area, scenic mountain surroundings and hiking and mountain biking opportunities. While most other campgrounds in the Catalina Mountains are closed in winter, Molino Campground and its picnic area are open in late fall, winter and early spring. The pleasant winter weather at this elevation makes it a great time to visit.

Molino Basin is conveniently located 5.5 miles from the base of Mt. Lemmon on the Catalina Highway, and about 10 miles northeast of Tucson.

Recreation

Hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding are popular activities. The Arizona Trail, which extends from Mexico to Utah, passes through the campground, and the Molino Trail leads to the Pusch Ridge Wilderness (hiking and horseback riding only). A variety of additional trails, including some on 9,157' Mt. Lemmon, are available in the area for those who wish to venture away from the campground for the day.

Facilities

This facility has a few dozen individual campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis, along with a reservable group camping and picnic area. The group area is accessible with a paved walkway, and is equipped with a large picnic shelter covering several picnic tables, two serving tables, grills and food storage lockers for bear safety. Six cleared tent pads, as well as one accessible tent site, are adjacent to the picnic area. Most of the tent sites are open and sunny. RVs and trailers are permitted.

Visitors must bring their own drinking water; none is provided.

Natural Features

Campsites sit amid a high desert oak scrub ecosystem at an elevation of 4,500 feet on the slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Along the banks of Molino Creek, which flows during and immediately after rain or snowmelt, species such as cottonwood, Arizona live oak and mesquite provide a scenic setting. Views are dominated by rugged, rocky hills. Colorful wildflowers bloom in spring.

Nearby Attractions

Catalina Highway (also known as General Hitchcock Highway and Sky Island Scenic Byway), the only paved road that leads to the upper reaches of Mt. Lemmon and the Santa Catalina Range, is one of the most scenic highways in the Southwest and definitely worth a day trip.

Other notable attractions include Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon, Colossal Cave and the city of Tucson.

Reviews

Have you stayed here? Be the first to leave a review!


More Places to Stay

Mount Lemmon, Arizona

Rose Canyon

Overview Rose Canyon Campground is just 17 miles northeast of Tucson, Arizona, off the Catalina Highway Scenic Drive near the summit of Mt. Lemmon. This area is popular for day use as well as overn...

Mount Lemmon, Arizona

Showers Point Group Site

Overview The cool shade of tall ponderosa pines and an overlook of Palisade Canyon from the campgrounds edge make Showers Point Group Site a popular place for groups to spend a weekend or an aftern...

Mount Lemmon, Arizona

Palisades Ranger Residence Cabin

Overview The Palisades Ranger Residence Cabin is located within the Palisades Administrative Site in the Santa Catalina Mountains, 20 miles northeast of Tucson, Arizona. The cabin is reached via th...

Adventures Nearby

  • Camp at Molino Basin

    Molino Basin Campground is the only campground of the Catalina District of the Forest Service to be open year round due to its lower elevation at only 4500'. Its position along the Mount Lemmon Highway makes Molino Basin a perfect basecamp for fur...

    0 miles 0 ft gain

  • Rock Climb the Hitchcock Pinnacle

    Hitchcock Pinnacle on Mount Lemmon may be the most recognizable landmark in the Santa Catalina Mountains due to its prominence over Catalina Highway and Windy Point. Ample parking is available as are bathrooms. The Pinnacle itself features several...

  • Hike Incinerator Ridge to Leopold Point

    Starting out at San Pedro Vista Trailhead, located just off the shoulder of the Catalina Highway, this trail follows along the ridgeline, drops to a small saddle, and terminates at a gorgeous vista: Leopold Point. There is only 1 sign that you wil...

    3.2 miles 800 ft gain