While most other campgrounds in the Catalina District are closed in winter and open in summer, Molino Campground and Picnic Area has a season that is just the opposite. Because it is located lower on the slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Molino is open during the late fall, winter, and early spring.
The weather here is pleasantly mild then, and any of those seasons is a good time to visit. Campsites are located in savannah -- desert grassland dotted with oaks. Along the banks of Molino Creek, which flows only during and immediately after rain or snowmelt, species such as cottonwood, Arizona live oak, and mesquite provide a scenic setting for the campsites they shelter. Views are dominated by nearby rugged, rocky hills. Roads in the campground are paved.
At a Glance
Closed for summer
Molino Basin CG is open from Nov 1 to May 1 and then closes until November 1
Camping: $10.00 per night per vehicle. Picnicking or other day use in Campgrounds: $10.00 per day. All fees are payable by cash, check, or money order at the time you occupy the site. Make check or money order payable to "USDA Forest Service." Coronado Recreation Fee Program passes are not required if vehicles remain in the campground. Limit of 2 vehicles and 10 persons per site. Campers must occupy site for the first 24 hours. 14-day stay limit per year.
November 1 - Mid April
No hookups. Trailers and RVs under 22' permitted. No pack and saddle stock permitted in campground. The Sheep Management Area in nearby Pusch Ridge Wilderness is closed to dogs for the protection of desert bighorn sheep. Pets must be leashed at all times. Mountain bike access is generally east of the campground and not allowed in Wilderness.
Northeast of Tucson, between mile markers 5 and 6 on the Catalina Highway
No water. It's always a good idea to bring drinking water with you on your camping trip.
Santa Catalina Ranger District
Santa Catalina Ranger District 520-749-8700
Directions: Take the Catalina Highway off Tanque Verde Road in Tucson. Drive 4.2 miles to the Forest boundary and continue 5.7 miles to the campground. All campsites are adjacent to paved roads and are accessible by two-wheel drive low-clearance vehicles, such as the family sedan.
Popular mountain biking area. Mountain bike access is generally east of the campground and not allowed in Wilderness.
Camping & Cabins
Winter season, scenic mountain surroundings, access to the Arizona Trail. Popular mountain biking area. Tables and fire grills.
No. of Sites
No. of Accessible sites
Accessible to persons with disabilities.
A new group campsite was opened in 2004, which has a covered ramada, tent pads, restroom, picnic tables, grills, and a group fire ring with benches. This site is also wheelchair accessible. Trailers and RVs under 22' permitted.
Make reservations online at www.recreation.gov.
Group fire ring with benches.
No. of Sites
Hookups - Electric
The Arizona Trail -- which extends from Mexico to Utah -- passes through this campground.