Molino Canyon in June

In June, the best places to find wildflowers near Tucson are moist, shady riparian areas or areas above 4000 feet (1219 m) in elevation, such as along the Catalina Highway. Coralbeans (Erythrina flabelliformis), Arizona Rosewood (Vauquelinia californica), and Beardlip Penstemons (Penstemon barbatus) are all in full bloom along the lower stretches of this highway. Tucson can be seen sprawling in the distance from the Molino Canyon Vista Overlook, an interesting place to stop along the Catalina Highway, although it's hot this time of year.

Tucson as seen from Molino Canyon Vista Overlook

Molino Basin Campground is now closed for the summer, but the parking lot and restrooms are still open. Across Catalina Highway from the campground is a nice section of the Arizona Trail.

Crossing Catalina Highway here can be a bit dangerous because the road is very busy, the traffic is moving fast, and the pedestrian crossing lies at a sharp bend where it's difficult to see oncoming traffic. I usually run across, but on Sunday, my dad and I took along Sammy the Labrador Retriever and my Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Chessie, who is 11 and does not run. We discovered that a better way to cross Catalina Highway here is to use the large tunnels that pass under it. The tunnels are large because the wash in this canyon can really flood, and large volumes of water have to pass through them.

Tunnel under the Catalina Highway in Molino Basin Campground