Lost Camp Loop

Beginning of Lost Camp Loop in South Mountain.
Beginning of Lost Camp Loop in South Mountain.
Megan Dobransky

The Lost Camp Loop is a hell of a hike.


It's longish (at 5 miles), climbs and descends steeply, has multiple opportunities to get lost, and is home to bees ... lots of bees.

The trail takes you close, but doesn't actually lead to the ruins of Lost Camp, a mysterious structure rumored to have been built in the 1900s.

The "lost camp" from afar.
The "lost camp" from afar.
Megan Dobransky

Finding the trailhead was challenging; it's behind a neighborhood, and there are a number of smaller trails that crisscross the desert floor.

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Fair warning: there are no signs saying you're on Lost Camp Loop; there are only simple brown posts that mark the way.

The first mile climbs pretty sharply, about 1,000 feet, and then drops down and around the camp. At several points, you can see the camp; you can even see a trail leading directly to the camp, but the "Lost Camp" trail never ended up there.

Once you cross the first wash, the trail stabilizes and remains flat and easy, hugging the foot of the ridge. But the unlabeled trail gets harder to follow. (I took a few wrong turns, but ultimately always ended up back on the main trail.)

Bees and "lost"-ness aside, the trail provides a fun hike, which should definitely be taken advantage of before the real summer weather sets in ...


To get to Lost Camp Loop, take Pecos Road west to 17th Avenue. Turn right and go north to Chandler Blvd. Take Chandler Blvd. until it ends, park and wander toward the mountain until you find a trail.

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