“A long trail from the bank of Hop Creek to the top of Shay Mesa.
— Eric Ashley
River/Creek · Views
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A long, sandy climb with a steep finish won't make this your first choice for a run.
Hop Creek Trail (022) begins off of Vega Creek Trail (164)
. Right away, the trail follows an old road trace, making two creek crossings before staying close to the banks of Hop Creek for the next two miles. Before departing this section, look for a colorfully striped mesa.
From here, the trail continues to climb toward Shay Mesa through scrubby juniper. The contours and ridges in this area translate into easy going along the sandy trail. You'll cross over a few more drainages, but don't expect much in the way of shade.
At around four miles, the trail descends into a shallow draw before ramping up for a steep climb on the other side. After navigating an additional series of drainages, the trail pretty much heads straight up, with little in the way of switchbacks to offset the grade.
This steady climbing peaks at a small ridge at the edge of the mesa. The views are pretty nice from here, which is great because you'll probably feel like taking a break. An easy beeline to the FS Road (104) is all that separates you from the end of the trail.