Hope Valley, Carson Pass, California

Hope Valley

Mileages From Stockton

  • Lower Bear River Res. - 85 miles
  • Silver Lake - 94 miles
  • Caples Lake - 101 miles
  • Carson Pass - 105 miles
  • Hope Valley - 111 miles
  • Blue Lakes - 124 miles

High Sierra Trails

A Backpacker's Guide to the
Most Spectacular Trails
in the Sierra Nevada

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Hope Valley

Hope Valley rests at 7,000 feet on the eastern side of Carson Pass. The valley has long been a favorite destination for fly fishermen, artists, photographers, day hikers, and a host of others who appreciate its beauty. Most famous for its fall colors, Hope Valley is a magnificent destination year-round. In winter its pristine snowfields attract cross country skiers, snowshoers, and snowmobilers.

Its lack of development is one of its greatest features. Visitors scan the meadows and see almost nothing but unspoiled beauty, from its meandering West Carson River to its guardian peaks.

photo of Hope Valley on Carson Pass, CA

Day Hiking in Hope Valley

Crater Lake

Find the trailhead 1.3 miles west of the Blue Lakes Road turnoff. The trail is actually a 4-wheel road that leads up to a number of mining prospects on slopes of Stevens Peak. The 2.5-mile hike climbs from 7,400 feet to 8,650 feet as it winds back and forth up the mountain side. Crater Lake is nestled in a pocket part way up the slope between Red Lake Peak and Stevens Peak.

Scotts Lake

The hike to Scotts Lake begins at the same place as the Crater Lake hike, but almost immediately veers to the right, traversing the mountain side for more than 2 miles. Then it climbs sharply up to the lake. Overall the trail is 3 miles, climbing from 7,400 feet to 8,050 feet. Much of the route is on 4-wheel dirt road. An alternate route begins one mile east of Blue Lake Road. Combined, the two trails make a nice loop trip.

Fishing Hope Valley

West Carson River

The West Carson River begins at 8,700-foot Lost Lakes and plunges into 600 feet into a valley that leads into Faith Valley. There the river begins to meander across Faith Valley and later Hope Valley. That 10-mile segment only drops about 500 feet.

Fly fishermen love to work this length of the river. Most of it is easily accessible from Highway 88 or Blue Lakes Road. At Picketts Junction is a disable accessible parking and restroom facility. Disabled accessible fishing piers are located north of the restroom.
Popular flies and nymphs: Adams, Ants, Grey Wulff, Gnats, Elk Hair Caddis; Bead head pheasant tail, Zug Bug

Hope Valley Wildlife Area

The Hope Valley Wildlife Area contains 2,869 acres to protect the habitat of various animals native to the area.

Open fires are not allowed in the Wildlife Area. Backpacking is allowed east of Highway 89 only, and motorized vehicles are not allowed in the Wildlife Area. Other activities such as hiking, fishing, and cross-country skiing are allowed.

Wildlife, which may be seen in the area, include northern goshawks, blue grouse, Clark's nutcrackers, deer, bobcats, and black bears.

Desolation Hotel - Hope Valley

Formerly Sorensen's and Wylder

Desolation Hotel Hope Valley is a unique resort located in the beautiful Hope Valley on the eastern side of Carson Pass. The resort features a restaurant, sauna, refurbished housekeeping cottages, log cabins, and vacation home rentals. Guests enjoy a variety of outdoor activities depending on the season, from fishing and hiking to cross-country skiing and snow shoeing.

photo of Sorensen's Resort in Hope Valley on Carson Pass, CA

14255 Highway 88, Hope Valley, CA
(530) 694-2203   Desolation Hotel Hope Valley

Resort Amenities

  • Sorensen's Cafe open from breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • General Store with art, books, gift cards, wines and gourmet food.
  • Hiking, Mountain Biking, Snowshoeing, Wildflower Walks Yoga, History talks

Hope Valley Camping

map of Hope Valley area campgrounds on Carson Pass, CA

Hope Valley Campground

Located at an elevation of 7,300 feet in Hope Valley, 8 miles east of Carson Pass on Blue Lakes Road. Usually open mid-July to September 30, depending on snowfall.

Campground Amenities

  • 22 single camp sites and 6 double - for tents, trailers, and RVs up to 35'
  • Vault toilets, piped water, picnic tables, grills, fire rings, bear boxes
  • Renovated in 2011-12
  • Along the West Carson River - fishing, hiking, mountain biking

Reservations: (877) 444-6777 or Recreation.gov - Hope Valley
Fees: $26 per night for a single site

Kit Carson Campground

Located at an elevation of 6,900 feet, 10 miles east of Carson Pass on Highway 88. On the West Fork Carson River. Usually open May 1 to September 30.

Campground Amenities

  • 12 camp sites for tents, trailers and RVs up to 30'
  • Vault toilets, piped water, picnic tables, grills, fire rings
  • Fishing, picnicking, hiking

Reservations: (877) 444-6777 or Recreation.gov - Kit Carson
Fees: $18 - $22 per night for a single site

Wylder Hope Valley Campground

Wylder Hope Valley is a private campground located 1¼ miles east of Pickett's Junction, the intersection of Highway 88 and Highway 89 coming over Luther Pass from South Lake Tahoe. It is now operated as part of Wylder Hope Valley, formerly Sorensen's.

Winter in Hope Valley

Winter brings new activities to Hope Valley.

  • Snowmobiling - The Sno-Park at the Blue Lakes Road turnoff makes a good staging area. The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest's Winter Recreation Guide is a useful map for snowmobilers. For more about snowmobile routes in Hope Valley, see Carson Pass Snowmobiling
  • Cross Country Skiing - Hope Valley Outdoors operates a cross-country and snowshoeing program in the Hope Valley. For information about cross-country skiing and more about Hope Valley Outdoors, see
    Carson Pass Cross Country Skiing
  • Dog Sledding