Hike on Molino Trail
The Catalina Highway leads up to the top of the Santa Catalina mountains, and all sorts of recreational opportunities associated with this mountain range. To get to the Molino hiking trail, you take the Catalina highway up to the Molino campground on the left. You need a pass to go up the Catalina highway, and there is a pay station along the highway with pay envelopes, or you can buy an annual pass, which is more convenient. When you get to the molino campground, park at the entrance where the bathrooms at located. The parking there is free, whereas if you drive further back into the campground and park, you'll have to pay to park. The trail starts at the catalina highway and goes both ways. This trail is also part of the Arizona trail.
It was a beautiful day when we hiked on this trail. The temperature was in the mid 70's and with a light breeze blowing and it was a beautiful partly cloudy day. The whole trail gains over a thousand feet, so we stopped several times to catch our breath. The end of the trail is about 5000 feet elevation, which is about 2500 feet higher than where we're staying in Tucson which didn't help us catch our breath. We didn't complete the trail, because we started late in the afternoon, and after walking about 1.5miles, we felt like we had enough exercise for the day, and turned around and hiked back down to the car.
The main idea is to get fresh air, good exercise that is a good experience and is good for me, and is a pleasant pastime. In Arizona in the winter most years, the temperatures are quite pleasant for outside exercise, including hiking, walks, bicycling, backpacking, etc.
The trail is a dirt trail mostly, but it was rock and sand part of the way. Mostly it was not steep, but there were a few spots where it was steep for a few feet, but not bad. The section we hiked gained about 1000 feet in about 1.4 miles, so it was an upsloped path on average, however it seemed like there were several sections where the trail went up and then down, so the elevation gain was more than the net elevation difference of the trail. The scenery was "high desert" and rocky, and quite beautiful in it's own way.
We took sandwiches when we went on the hike. We ate half of a sandwich before the hike to raise our blood sugar without having to exercise on a full stomach, and then we ate the other half after we got back to the car. If you take this hike, don't forget to bring plenty of water, because the high desert is dry and you'll need at least 16 ounces of water, and probably more per person.
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Last Update: November 16, 2014
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