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Hope Camp Trail, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson
2.9 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,150 feet
Elevation Gain 215 feet
Accumulated Gain 755 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.58
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12  2018-12-28 ThirstyLizard
5  2018-01-14
Grass Shack CG
50  2017-02-12
Rincon Valley - AZT #8
28  2017-02-07
Saguaro N P Quilter Trail to Madrona R S
1  2015-12-21 KarenTom
79  2015-09-01
Rincon Mountains - AZT #9
7  2015-04-14
AZT #9a Hope Camp to Grass Shack
30  2015-04-04
Rincon Mountains - AZT #9
Page 1,  2,  3
Author fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 383
Photos 3,724
Trips 2,743 map ( 18,146 miles )
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Nov, Jan → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:08am - 6:26pm
Official Route
8 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
I hope you like this hike
by fricknaley

This is a nice easy walk along the southern flank of Tanque Verde Ridge and the Rincon Mountains along an old route to some old line camps, sites of round-ups when these were functioning ranchlands. There are two such camps along the way: Deer Camp and Hope Camp at the end of the line. These camps are marked by old rusty windmills and cement troughs. There are wonderful vista views along the way.

Take off from the parking lot and immediately pass through a hiker's gate. There is an immediate signed trail junction. Hope Camp trail continues straight ahead. The Ridge View trail breaks left. We'll do this later. Continue straight along the Hope Camp trail. It's an easy grade with some minor ups and downs. There are huge vistas to your left the whole way. Massive saguaros escort your passage. You will do a couple of wash crossings as you go, the route is always easy to follow.

At about 1.3 miles you will come to the Deer Camp site. There is an old windmill and silo on your left, just across the wash. Periodically along the way, halfway up the south face of Tanqe Verde Ridge, you see some grand dry falls. After a rain, these have to be sensational. From here you do a nice easy climb to a saddle at 1.8 miles. From here you have great views over Rincon Valley and Rincon Peak. Now there is a smooth descent through some riparian and grassy habitat to the old Hope Camp. Here is another old windmill and some cement troughs. The isolated feel of this old site is great. This is 2.8 miles from the trailhead.

There is another signed junction here. Take the North Hope trail from here across some beautiful desert grasslands for 0.3 miles. There is an old rickety fence to your right. There are fabulous views of Rincon Peak and Rincon Valley. The trail is littered with pricklies, cholla and huge saguaros. It ends unceremoniously in a small loop at a small "trail closed" sign. You can see a small knoll straight ahead. A short quarter mile bushwhack to this hilltop affords great views out over the Rincons.

After heading back the North Hope trail, then back the Hope Camp trail to the original junction with the Ridge View trail hang a right and head north on this short 0.8 mile trail. This is a pleasant route lined with purple cholla and purple Santa Rita prickly pears. It winds and climbs mildly to a small saddle overlooking all of the Hope Camp trail, southern Tanque Verde Ridge and Rincon this is sweet! Head back the way you came to the trailhead.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2008-01-19 fricknaley
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Hope Camp Trail
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LaSelvilla to Loma Alta time to finish off a passage and complete a postponed hike of the top of 8 thru the Rincon Valley so we met in Sun Lakes at 7:15 and made our way, once again, toward Vail.
Side note: Vail was named after an Easterner named Walter L. Vail, who purchased the “Empire Ranch,” a small spread in Cienega Valley, southeast of Tucson, and set about to develop a major livestock operation in the region. Stretching from the Rincon Mountains, east of Tucson, forty-five miles south to the Huachuca Mountains (eventually 180 square miles) ... verted.pdf

The Loma Alta TH was pretty packed when we arrived so we decided to leave Tonto Jr and piled in Shawn's truck for the short shuttle to LaSelvilla Campground. It looked like it would be a lovely day for a hike.

The trail is in nice shape as it winds gradually up and over and into the Rincon Valley. There is lots of flora, some blooming, along the way. We encountered one large group of bikers that eventually made their way by us and shortly thereafter must have turned around so we had to wait for them again.

It looks like there had been some plant maintenance along the way but they didn't do the best job. There was one foothill palo verde tree that they did such a terrible job, we just had to stop and fix it. Shawn pulled out his saw and started sawing away at a branch or two which became at least 1/2 dozen branches so not only is the tree cleaned up, it looks much better.

We did encounter two of the largest barrel cactus we had ever seen. We took a picture by one only to see another one not too far away that was even taller (probably a little over 6 feet). We also encountered a couple horseback riders that we let pass; altho for quite some time we had to slow our pace in order not to take over these two horses, sheesh! Eventually the riders engaged the horses in a trot to get some distance. When these riders passed us on their way back, those horses were dragging; I don't think they get out much :lol: .

We took a break for lunch at a little past the 1/2 way mark with a great view of the Rincon Mountains and Rincon Peak. It was really lovely as we enjoyed that view off an on for most of the day. After lunch we continued on our way with about a mile left to Rincon Creek. The terrain changed a bit as we got closer to the creek.

A biker passed by and said the creek was really running today. And yep, he was right and it was running fast and a little high over/on the trail. Someone spotted a branch that had been laid across this fast water a little downstream and Ambika, despite it looking like a pretty weak branch, made the attempt. It was difficult because you had to place your poles just right to stabilize you as you moved across the branch. Shawn let us go first for fear if he went it might break but we all made it safely.

On our way again with the next destination being Hope Camp. That is quite the operation there with the windmill and troughs and tanks. From here we hiked on the old jeep road built by cowboys. We're now looking at Tanque Verde Ridge looming to our north and Sentinel Butte. We will pass by Deer Camp, another line camp (pretty much a duplicate of Hope's set-up) used by cowboys from area ranches, including the Rock-ing K and X-9. From there, it's a hop, scotch... wait... I hear thunder and some more thunder... jump to the TH. We had a quick libation and some chips and headed over to LaSelvilla to pick up Shawn's truck.

We met up with Wendy and Randy at Rigo's for some Mexican fare. It was very crowded due to large parties so it was a bit noisy. The food got mixed reviews. Won't be back on the Arizona Trail with the section crew again until later in March. Pictures are done, video production pending 2-15-2017.

Part 1 [ youtube video ]
Part 2 toward Rincon Creek [ youtube video ]
Part 3 Rincon Creek to Hope Camp [ youtube video ]
Part 4 [ youtube video ]
Part 5 toward Camino Alta Loma TH [ youtube video ]
Hope Camp Trail
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Douglas Spring/Mica Mtn/Grass Shack
Day 1: Finished work at 4, dropped of a car at Loma Alta, and got shuttled to Douglas Spring TH just before 6. We had to use headlamps almost the entire way, but it was a pretty smooth hike. Thanks to the camper at Site 1 who directed us to Site 2 and let us use his bear locker (even though there was a bear locker at Site 3 just about 40 feet away from us which we were too stupid to see in the dark). Since we got there so late, there was a lot of getting disoriented trying to find our way around, and hopefully our confused ranting didn't keep the other camper awake. I'm afraid we were quite close to being those campers...

Day 2: Went up to Cowhead Saddle, Spud Rock, and Mica Mountain, then down the Mica Mountain Trail to Manning Camp and down the Manning Camp Trail to Grass Shack for the night. A pretty big day, and the weather couldn't have been any better. Back in May I only lasted about 5 mins on Spud Rock before getting cold, but now in December it was warm with just the slightest breeze. The descent from Mica that afternoon as the sun was setting was about as good as it gets.

Day 3: Booked it down to Loma Alta in 4 hrs so that we could make it to work that afternoon. Remind me to never ascend this route in the summer. Gorgeous this time of year though.

Plenty of water at Grass Shack and Manning Camp, and pretty good flow at Douglas Spring. No beer at Grass Shack. :-({|=
Hope Camp Trail
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Only had time for a quick one today, and I was in the area so I thought I would hit this one up again. I started out from the Loma Alta trailhead, and quickly got to appreciate the brand new AZT gate that just got installed! Funny, I was here last month for my big backpack trip and didn't expect to see anything new. Some great custom welding on this one, nicely installed too. ;) I made the trip over to Hope Camp and enjoyed a little break. Enjoyed the shade of a mesquite tree while sitting on one of the old wells. Made a quick side trip up Quilter on the way back for sentimentality's sake. Made it home in time to shower up and take the wife out for a nice date night meal. Thumbs up all around.
Hope Camp Trail
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What a trip! I have been looking at this hike (or some variation) for some time now. I started from the Loma Alta TH about 3:30 after finishing up work, and about an hour later than I had wanted to start, but sometimes duty calls...Overloaded with more stuff than I need (as per usual) the grind up was pretty taxing, especially with the high humidity level. I was sweating buckets the whole way up! I had to navigate the last hour + by headlamp which made for really slow going, especially trying to find an overgrown trail and make my way across numerous wet creek crossings. There is flowing water everywhere in the Rincons right now, I have never seen so much water and green growth out here! All the washes are flowing, and there are waterfalls around every corner it seemed. The Quilter trail and the first 4 miles of the Mannig Camp trail are really overgrown, lots of annuals and grasses going to town with all of the moisture. Soaked my boots making the crossing to the Grass Shack campground, my destination for the night. I had enough energy to set up camp and filter some water, but I was too wiped to even worry about dinner. Slept really well in the tent, temps were in the mid to low 60's so very comfortable. Got up a bit before the sun on Wednesday for some breakfast, and then loaded up for the trip up the mountain. Made good time up to Manning Camp where I stopped for a break to look around, have a snack, and filter some water. Clouds were looming in and the thunder started up as I was approaching Mica Mountain, but I had come too far to not make my goal. Made it to the top and signed the register, saw a few familiar names in the book. From here I continued on the Fire Loop over to Spud Rock and made the scramble up. Fantastic views up above, simply breathtaking! Enjoyed a summit brew and had to skedaddle, there was a big dark cloud hanging over Mica and I knew better than to chance it. I went down the Fire loop to the Cow Head Saddle trail when the sprinkling started. This kept up for about 45 minutes, and then the real rain started. I had to take a break to stow my electronics in a dry bag and I got out my rain jacket, all the while trying to get further down the mountain and away from the potential lightning...Made the Cow Head Saddle and took the Douglas Spring trail on back to camp. It rained hard enough that my boots got soaked through in pretty quick fashion, this ended up rubbing a pretty nasty hole under my right ankle once I was back to camp to assess damages. I finally ate my lunch about 3:30, and dozed in the tent waiting for the bugs to go away with the dark. Woke up for a quick snack and to send off a SPOT signal to my wife so she didn't fret too much. Thursday I woke up about 5:30 to get in an early breakfast and get packed up for the trip out. I had my first human contact in two days when I ran into Andrew from the NPS trail crew about a mile or so onto the Quilter trail. I stopped to chat for a few and share some experiences, nice guy! From here I powered down to Rincon Creek (I am pretty sure) for a snack and to filter some more water. Finally made it back to the trusty Quest van about 11:30 to take off my boots and see that I had a big blister on my left foot and a few more rub marks form all of the wet boot hiking. I don't think my boots were ever dry on this trip, I might have retired this pair in style. Headed back into Tucson for some much needed lunch at one of my favorites, La Parilla Suiza. Promptly inhaled a chile relleno, enchilada, rice, beans, two bowls of chips, two cups of water, and two cups of iced tea. Refueled, I headed back to Phoenix for a nice shower at home and then some family time. Simply amazing trip, any time you can go through 6 different bio-zones on a hike you know you have done well. P.S., if anyone makes it up to the Grass Shack in the near future, there are a few extra Sunspot Gold ales in the bear box at site two, if the rangers do not get to it first...

Huge amounts of color from about 3500' to 5000', spotty above there.
Hope Camp Trail
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Grass Shack from Loma Alta
Saguaros were in full bloom, the Arizona Rainbow cacti near the campsite looked like they will be blooming in the next few weeks.

Made a how-to video on backpacking in SNP:
Hope Camp Trail
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Up TVR and Cowhead Saddle trails to the Rincon high point at Mica Mountain, an outstanding ridge hike with huge views and gradually changing flora, cactus-to-conifers. Then back down on AZT #9 to the Camino Loma Alta trailhead. Juniper Basin was dry, good water at Manning Camp and Grass Shack. Bike shuttle between start/end.
Hope Camp Trail
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This was a tough one at first, as we came out of Cienega Creek, which was a wooded, shady area in a canyon, and up onto the desert floor where there was no shade. It was the hot part of the day and we were roasting! We kept pushing through to get done, only taking a couple of breaks. The second break we took was golden though, it really rejuvenated us for the final push. The first break was the break where Joe became known as the "squirrel whisperer"...quite entertaining! Thankfully it also improved after about 1/3 of the way in when clouds rolled in and gave us much nicer weather for the remainder of the afternoon.

Went through the Colossal Cave Park area, the only place where we saw a sign on the Arizona Trail thus far that said "restaurant & restrooms, 1/4 mile" with an arrow. We didn't take advantage of it though. We also went through Hope Camp, which doesn't have much of anything left there anymore.

Thanks guys for another great day!!

BY THE WAY, on this segment I picked up a trail maintenance tool, a bush saw. Anyone who's been working out here recently who claims it, please let me know. I picked it up, as I didn't want it to rust out there.
Hope Camp Trail
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Nice stroll along the Hope Camp trail along the south flank of Tanque Verde Ridge in the Rincons. A desert ramble with huge views and wide open grasslands, I was pleasantly surprised with this walk. A little extra scrambling at the end of the North Hope trail afforded some nice additional views, especially of Rincon Peak. The huge views at the end of the Ridge View trail were also worth the extra jog.

Nice day out.

Permit $$

Saguaro National Park
2019 $20 vehicle, $15 motorcycle or $10 for any individual on foot or bicycle - the receipt is valid for 7 days Fees

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Tucson, take I-10 East to exit # 279 (Wentworth/Vail Road). Go north on Vail road for 3 miles to intersection with Camino Loma Alta. Take a left here and follow this road roughly 5.5 miles until it ends at the Loma Alta Trailhead. The last 0.5-.75 mile is on a smooth gravel road.

2011-05-03 Guest writes: Vail road now ends in a T. Turn Right and go about 1/4 mile and you find Camino Loma Alta
1 TB Flash Drive... $40
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