Sunday, January 4, 2015

6 Days in the Turtle and Orocopia Mountains

We were supposed to spend 6 days exploring the Turtle Mountains but the cold, windy weather changed our plans and after 4 days we drove over to the Orocopia Mountains to spend the last couple of days, it was marginally warmer. I really wanted to get to Castle Rock but that didn't happen, we mostly hiked around the Lost Arch Inn and Mexican Hat trail. Don't expect to get very close in your car (legally) to the Turtles, it is mostly Wilderness boundaries now and most of the old jeep roads in are posted as no vehicle access. Browns Camp and the Lost Arch Inn are easily accessible though.

Turtle Mountains

First night camp near Browns Camp and the Mexican Hat Trail
Unamed Peak

Sunrises were great
Sunrise at Browns Camp


Some more starry night shots
Milky Way

My camp setup just after dusk
My Camp Setup for the evening, near Table #2

The Lost Arch Inn
Lost Arch Inn

Lost Arch Inn

Lost Arch Inn

Lost Arch Inn

The Car Corral
The Car Corral

The Car Corral

Coffin Spring area
Coffin Spring Trail

Coffin Spring Trail

The Lisa Dawn Cupola Mine is was left as is but with a large metal cover
Lisa Dawn Cupola

Lisa Dawn Cupola

Mexican Hat and trail area
Mexican Hat

Unamed peak at sunrise

Unamed peak

Here are some photos of the Heritage Trail area and Mopah/Umpah Peaks. We didn't get a chance to hike to them, the weather kept us away with strong winds, rain and some light snow
Heritage Trail

Mopah and Umpah Peaks

Joel near the Heritage Trail

I even broke out the bug hut and tarp for the weather
I put up the tarp and bug tent for the strong winds and rain, we got some light snow also

I guess they call them the Turtle's for a reason
Tortoise Shell

We packed up and started out for the Orocopia Mountains but first stopped by West Well, lots of wild burros out there
Wild Burros

Some petros and gorgeous colors in the hills

Nice colors in the sand and rock

We took the Red Canyon Trail into the Orocopia's, it was a fairly easy 2WD high clearance road
Red Canyon Trail in the Orocopia Mountains

Lots of great colors down in the canyon
Red Canyon

We camped out near Gucci Spring and hiked around the area
Gucci Spring

Gary pointing out the wildlife watering hole
Wildlife water tank at Gucci Spring

A Selfie at our camp near Gucci Spring, it was damn cold every night, teens and low 20's, freezing bottles each night

More sunset stuff
Sunset/Moonrise at Gucci Spring

Salt Creek bridge on the Bradshaw Trail, that is Rabbit Peak way off in between the bridge, it has snow on it
Salt Creek Trestle and Rabbit Peak with snow

Last day out we hiked Painted Canyon in the Mecca Hills, a really neat canyon I thought
Painted Canyon

Painted Canyon

Painted Canyon

Mt Jacinto in the distance with snow

You can see Gary down at the bottom of this huge canyon wall
Gary in Painted Canyon

Total Mylar Balloons this trip - 6
6 Mylars this trip

You can see more photos here

Turtle Mountains Photos

Orocopia Mountains Photos


  1. Looks like a nice, quiet, cold, and dark outing. I am hoping to get out in the desert over the next couple of weeks.

    1. Definitely desert season now so I hope you can get out there!