For when you need to warm up on Mt Lemmon
This is a lower elevation campground in the Catalinas in grassland and oak. It's closed in the summer because of heat (open from November 1 to April 30). The Molino Basin is very beautiful with the tan grasses and dark green oak trees. It's surrounded by rocky ridges and has a stream through it that flows for most of the year. This is the campground to go to when it's too cold at the top of Mt Lemmon.
The campground is long with many hidden campsites, so spend some time scoping out your options. The nice sites are usually a short walk (50-200 ft) off of the road. Some sites have ramadas, and all have a grill, steel fire ring, and a pole for hanging lanterns and trash bags. There is no water at the site except the flowing stream, and the public water sources up the mountain are shut off for most of the season that Molino Basin is open.
The Arizona Trail passes through the campground, and there are a couple of trails leaving from the campground. The Molino Basin Trail (#11) takes off from the far west end of the campground and goes to the Gordon Hirabayashi campground(~1 mi) and then on to the Sycamore Reservoir (~2.5 mi).
See fees for current information.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.