Was Green Mountain too tame? Did you barely break a sweat climbing the Bug Spring Trail out of Bear Canyon? Are your best rides the ones where you've had to drag your half-dead body back to the trailhead? If this sounds like your idea of fun, you're one sick puppy and will love this loop. If not, stay away.
The ride strings together the Green Mountain, Bug Spring, and Molino Basin trails for more than 12 miles of singletrack. Such a good stretch of trail comes at a cost: a 90-minute climb up 11 miles of two-lane highway. The good news is that you get this out of the way early. It also means that you have an easy out if Green Mountain proves too much for you.
These trails include some of the most challenging singletrack in the Catalinas and you'll hit it fresh off a long mountain climb. It demands a great deal of stamina and conditioning. Take plenty of water and snacks and get an early start. Knee, shin, and elbow padding is highly recommended.
How to get there
If you don't have a Forest Service pass, pick one up at the Mount Lemmon Highway fee station above the Molino Canyon overlook or the self-service station at Molino Basin. Some federal lands passes are also valid, including the America the Beautiful pass. Check a fee station for the current pass requirements.
Take the Mount Lemmon Highway to Molino Basin (mile 5.6) and park.
Mileages listed are approximate. This usually isn't a problem as most trail junctions are marked.
* Start early to avoid traffic on the Catalina Highway and heat on the trail. In summer, plan to start your ride from Molino Basin by 6 am.
Drop your seat post half and inch to an inch for the Green Mountain trail downhill. It'll help you sit back further on the bike through the steep sections.
Watch out for hikers and yield the trail, smile, and wave. In most cases they will encourage you to pass, possibly thinking that anyone crazy enough to try and ride this trail needs all the help they can get. A popular hiking section is the trail between the Guthrie Mountain fork and Bear Canyon.