**Edit 5/2/2008 – When I originally wrote this post I had never heard of a name for the drainage we started in, but In the comments below I was directed towards the now out-of-print Cowgill and Glendening guide book for the Santa Catalina Mountains and their Hollin Basin description! (Thanks!) In their description it seems pretty clear that the drainage we were hiking is called the West Fork of Molino canyon.
Dave B. recently arrived back in Tucson and was free for a day of hiking, so we headed into the Santa Catalina Mountains for a little fun… A few years ago ADT and I did a night hike into the West Fork of Molino Canyon, the first drainage up the road from the Molino Basin Campground (we hiked to the first waterfall) – I remembered that hike being fun, so Dave and I decided that we would hike up that drainage, around Airmen Peak and down Molino canyon back to the parking lot.
The West Fork of Molino had running water along almost all of our hike – a nice surprise that made the falls and formations even more interesting. The hiking included a fair amount of scrambling and bushwhacking – it was more strenuous than hiking up the East Fork of Molino Canyon. Some of this area looks like it escaped the fires several summers ago and was enjoyably green. Once we were north of Airmen Peak we started looking for the best way to head east and into the East Fork – much to our surprise there was reasonably easy walking in and along small drainages for almost the entire hike down into Molino Canyon. Once we reached Molino Canyon we enjoyed the hike down the canyon (we were surprised at how dry the canyon was, none of the water seen here) and back to the Molino Basin Campground. Map.