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Manning Camp via Douglas Spring, AZ

Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 26 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,752 feet
Elevation Gain 5,381 feet
Accumulated Gain 6,300 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 13 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 57.5
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Historic & Seasonal Waterfall
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
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1  2020-12-27 DerekHikesAlot
13  2018-09-15
Manning Camp and Helen's dome
22  2013-03-27 Mountain_Rat
Author Mountain_Rat
author avatar Guides 11
Routes 106
Photos 676
Trips 219 map ( 2,167 miles )
Age 58 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, May, Mar → Early
Sun  5:36am - 7:22pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2003 Helens 212.8 mi*
🔥 2003 Helen's 2 Fire11.6 mi*
🔥 1994 Rincon Fire44.5 mi*
🔥 1989 CHIVA Fire21.9 mi*
🔥 1972 Helens Dome Fire1.4 mi*
🔥 1954 Rincon Fire13.8 mi*
🔥 1943 Manning Camp Fire5.7k
🔥 View All over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles

One Looong Trail
by Mountain_Rat

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You are reading this right now because I could not hike and instead decided to reminisce while trapped at home. On March, 27 of 2013, I made this trek as it would be best done early spring or fall, giving max daylight with mild conditions for a 26 mile / 6,300’ hike.

This adventure begins at the Douglas Spring trailhead, at the east end of Speedway Blvd n Tucson’s far east side. From the parking area, you head predominantly east, with a slight drift to the south. In the first 6.5 miles, you gain a mere 2,200’ as you transition through various venues of middle desert before arriving at the Douglas Spring campground. This is a rather small campground with only three campsites as far as I can tell. It does, however, boast the finest outhouse in all the Rincon campgrounds and a hitching post. On the south edge of the campground, the Douglas Camp Spring can often be found. Though I have seen attainable water here each time I’ve passed, I understand that this spring is considered dry by the forest service and should not be considered a dependable water source.

Once you depart the spring, you head south and start to climb, and soon enough, you’ll realize you’re not in Kansas anymore. You’re now gaining about 600’ per miles, steadily, without relief. This leg of the trip is about 2.4 miles up an ever eroding ravine. I prefer this section on a moist day when the trail doesn’t try to fall out from under me. You need to be a bit careful in that section of the hike.

The next checkpoint is the intersection with the Cow Head Saddle trail, and you will have put on another 1,450’ of gain getting here. Again you push eastward and again climb steadily. To me, this seems to be the toughest part of the hike, though statistically, it’s a touch lighter than the climb up the ravine. I guess it’s a mental thing. At any rate, shortly after you begin the Cow Head section, you start coming into pine. The views here aren’t the greatest, but that kind of lends to a feeling beyond solitude and more like isolation. You will have come 3.5 miles and gained 2,100’ more AEG along the Cow Head when you top out for the day. Now all that’s left is to drop down into Manning Camp, about 6/10 miles all downhill, and enjoy the atmosphere.

There are also a number of side excursions in the area if time, weather, and water allow; Mica Mountain, Spud Rock, Reef Rock, Devils Bathtub, are all nearby.

Just be safe, and we’ll leave the light on for ya...

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2015-12-21 Mountain_Rat
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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.

Permit $$

Saguaro National Park
2020 $25 vehicle • $20 motorcycle • $15 individual on foot or bicycle
Receipt is valid for 7 days
$45 Annual Park Pass View All

Map Drive

To Douglas Spring Trailhead
From I-10 & Speedway Blvd exit #257, travel East on Speedway Blvd 17.4 miles to the trailhead.

The final major crossroad will be Freeman and "Dead End" signs will begin to appear. The trailhead is a small parking area with a picnic able and ample signage at the dead end of Speedway.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 129 mi - about 2 hours 17 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 19.4 mi - about 41 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 272 mi - about 4 hours 23 mins
page created by Mountain_Rat on Dec 21 2015 4:57 pm
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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