The Molino Basin Trail #11 may be most popular as a link – part of the Arizona Trail, part of a number of popular Mountain Bike rides and part of a popular day hike to Sycamore Reservoir Trail. With a large part of the trail in view of the highway it was years of hiking in the Santa Catalina Mountains before I hiked all of this trail… While there are more rugged/remote/scenic trails this is a fun day hike, the miles near Molino Basin are quite fun and Shreve Saddle is always nice to visit.
- Hike Type: Out and Back
- Hiking Distance: 7.2 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1,250'
- Elevation Loss: 1,250'
- Highest Elevation: 5,000'
- Lowest Elevation: 4,300'
- Location: This hike is located off of the General Hitchcock Highway in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Arizona.
- Start/End: Molino Basin Parking Area (Lower Highway Hikes)
- Driving Distance from Speedway Campbell: 19.5 miles
- Driving Time from Speedway Campbell: 40 Minutes
- Vehicle Access: Paved Roads/Passenger Car (Mountain Road - be careful of weather conditions!)
- Fee: Yes (No fee for some uses - there are a limited number of free parking spaces for the hikers using the Arizona Trail (Molino Basin Trail and Bellota Trail))
- Dogs: Yes
- Bikes: Yes
- Part of the Arizona Trail
- Drive East on Speedway (5.0 miles)
- Left on Wilmot and continue on Tanque Verde (4.3 miles)
- Left on Catalina Highway (10.1 miles)
- Signs will help you find the turn into this trailhead and campground. This area is a fee area ($5 or Interagency Pass - Coronado National Forest Fee Information) - but there are a number of clearly signed free parking spaces for Arizona Trail users.
Right: Looking up towards Shreve Saddle. August 2013.
The mileages and elevations below are approximate (don't expect the values below to match your GPS exactly).
- 0.0 miles, 4350′: Park in the Molino Basin Parking Area 5.6 miles up the General Hitchcock Highway [Waypoint THMB].
- The trail starts in the Northwest corner of the parking lot – it quickly crosses the (paved) road [Waypoint MB01] and passes several side trails [Waypoints MB02 and MB03]. Pay careful attention as the trail winds thru/near the campground – there are a number of side trails to campground areas, if you walk ‘thru’ a campsite you have probably lost the trail…
- 0.4 miles, 4300′: Cross a wash/road [Waypoint MB04]
- 1.0 miles, 4450′: Signed junction with a trail down to the Molino Basin Campground [Waypoint J MB MBCG] – at 1.1 miles pass an unsigned junction down to the campground [Waypoint MB05]
- The trail climbs to a hillside just above the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site.
- 2.2 miles, 4850′: Signed junction with a trail that connects to the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site [Waypoint MB-BSC] (this trail starts at campsite at an old set of stairs just under a set of solar panels [Waypoint GHRS to MB]). After you pass this junction there are a number of other unofficial side trails down to the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site campgrounds [in the area of Waypoint MB06].
- 2.5 miles, 4850′: Pass the large Molino Basin Trail – Soldier Trail sign near the end-of-the-road parking area [Waypoint MB07].
- 2.7 miles, 4800′: The signed junction with Soldier Trail [Waypoint SO-MB] – continue across the wash, the trail parallels the wash and then follows the sandy bottom and small shortcut trails.
- 3.2 miles, 4850′: Leave the wash and head uphill towards Shreve Saddle [Waypoint MB08]
- 3.6 miles, 5000′: The Molino Basin Trail ends at Shreve Saddle and the trail continues into the Pusch Ridge Wilderness as the Sycamore Reservoir Trail [Waypoint SR01].
2013 August Molino Basin Trail
- 2017/8/15 – Add posts from HikeLemmon
- 2014/10/24 – New picture, small layout change
- 2014/9/23 – Updated GPX file with slightly cleaned up track and waypoint names
- 2014/7/18 – Format update
- 2014/4/2 – Added new GPX file with waypoints and updated hiking notes
- 2014/3/2 – Move to WordPress, add elevation profile, Driving Directions, new format