Mt. Lemmon’s Molino Basin and Italian Trap – Cycling Arizona’s Mountain Trails
The Arizona mountains are littered with great biking trails, and this is one of them. We recommend you head over to this section of Mt. Lemmon for a quieter ride that still has the classic Arizona landscape, weather, and biking fun. This trail runs from Italian Trap on its Southern end in the Redington Pass area all the way to Molino Basin, in the lower foothills of the Catalina Mountains.
It is an absolutely fantastic biking trail if you’re looking for a little bit of everything Tucson has to offer when it comes to mountain biking. Smooth, fast, and rolling single-track, some lung-taxing climbing, are accompanied by short and fun technical areas. Don’t worry, you can hop off your bike and walk through the difficult spots if cycling is not your forte. Don’t forget about the spectacular scenery!
Please note that South of Italian Trap, this biking trail melts into the Arizona wilderness and no bikes are allowed in natural landscapes. Because of this, many cyclists park at Redington and head North to skip the short (but extremely fun) bike ride out-and-back to Italian Trap.
Molino Basin and Italian Trap: Technical and Leisure Biking in Arizona
While cycling Molino Basin and the Italian Trap you will find all types of biking areas, from technical to leisure, in these trails in the Arizona nature. We will only advise you against the only real hard technical area, found when biking up the climb and biking down the descent from Molino Basin to the water tank, near the entrance of La Milagrosa trail. Once you bike across Catalina Highway, pick up the right fork, and bike across the creek. This is where the hard cycling fun begins: you’ll start the brutal biking climb up and over the pass.
For those who are looking for a real technical mountain biking challenge while in Arizona, start at the Northern trailhead at Molino Basin. From there you can cycle on to Italian Trap or, as many riders do, break off on La Milagrosa trail, which starts just South of the water tank, for even more miles of mountain cycling.
Everything South of the Northern Molino Pass is considered to be moderate and intermediate biking by all cyclists who are in good shape. So if you’re not really wanting to cycle through the super-techie stuff, we recommend that you park near the South trailhead in Redington Pass. From there, you can make your cycling adventure a fun out-and-back bike ride.
From the arizona trail sign at Italian Trap, the biking trail climbs steadily until it drops down for a fun downhill cycle to Redington Road. There, the trail will lead you Northeast and then West to Bellota Ranch Road. If you’re looking for even more miles in this mountain bike adventure, we recommend you bike across the road to reach the Lake Trailhead, which follows the Bellota Trail. This next biking trail crosses Caliente Creek, goes through several gates, and then climbs up to the pass above Molino Basin for stunning and one-of-a-kind Arizona views.
Directions from Molino Basin to Italian Trap Mountain Bike Trails – Tucson, Arizona
Biking to Molino Basin: Take Mt. Lemmon Highway to the Molino Basin campground to find the trailhead, which is right across Catalina Highway. After you bike a few yards in, take the RIGHT fork to cycle across the creek. As with any trailhead along Catalina Highway, you will need a day pass in order to park. Passes can be purchased inexpensively at the Ranger Station below Molino Basin.
Biking to Italian Trap: In East Tucson, take Tanque Verde Road until it turns to dirt. From the moment it turns to dirt, drive another 10-miles to the point where an Arizona biking trail crosses the road. Redington Road is a smooth, paved road for any type of passenger vehicles. You’ll find your biking trail along this intersection.