Excursion Reconnaissance: Molino Basin, Mt.Lemmon

Driving up Catalina Highway to Molino Canyon, our morning stop. It takes a little over a 1/2 hour from central Tucson at U of A .  Molino Canyon and Basin are at the first major switchback on Mt. Lemmon, elevation approx. 4,500 feet.  The landscape contains old oaks, grasses and yucca.  The Canyon is characterized by strongly striated Gneissic rock, some of the oldest rock on earth.

While foot travel is a bit limited at our first stop because of the canyon topography, walking is easy.  Facilities are about a mile up the road.


Looking south down the canyon. Good temperature contrast.


And great value contrast.

Interesting plant diversity with old growth.

And wonderful rock formation with candycane stripes in warm and cool temperatures.

Now, to our afternoon location, Molino Basin.

About a mile up the road, right after the highway turns west, turn left into the Molino Basin parking area. We’ll have lunch here at the picnic sites and then explore the shady oak and manzanita  filled area.

The area displays a prominent ridge line, tumbled white rock in the creek bed, and a tiny touch of Fall.


Ancient oak.

Because of the water and basin topography there is a lot of plant diversity, some with unique coloration.  Notice the warm and cool color temps in this shot.

Speaking of color temps/aerial perspective-check out the Tucson scene.  Think I’ll stay up here

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