Hovatter Road

4.4/5 (6 reviews)
Quartzsite, Arizona (La Paz County)
Last Updated: 01/06/2022
Zoom in to see trails...

Trail Information

Highlights

Ray Hovatter patented mining claims in the Little Horn Mountains around 1950. Ray and his workers built a coarse road connecting the Hovatter homestead to the Harquahala mining district. Ray, wife Barbara, and three daughters lived at their remote homestead from 1951 to 1974 managing and working the mines that produced mostly manganese. Barbara kept a glass jar of captured scorpions on the kitchen table and planted extensive cactus gardens at the homestead. A propane tank explosion killed the eldest daughter in 1968. Ray died on the property in 1974. Both a buried on the ridge just south of the homestead. Barbara's ashes were scattered over the graves in the 1990s. The site was reclaimed by the KOFA National Wildlife Refuge and all the buildings were removed. The cactus gardens and a unique saguaro lined driveway remains. Today the Hovatter road is a path to beauty. Rugged enough to keep the faint of heart at bay, a trip along the Hovatter rewards the intrepid with solitude and adventure. The trail begins as a smooth, but very sandy, road aimed southwest and straight at the prominent Coyote Peak. To the south, across a broad plain of saguaro cactus and creosote bush, the jagged multihued outline of the rugged Little Horn Mountain ranges hint at the adventure ahead. A slight left turn at Coyote Peak points you straight at the heart of the Little Horns and soon the road obligingly begins a gentle climb. That gentleness is fully wrung out of the trail after you cross the first of the mountain passes. The Hovatter twist climbs, descends, and crosses rocky washes while providing geologic eye candy as it traverses the Little Horns. Keep an eye to the right for Conflagration Arch, a twisted testament to the powerful forces that raised these mineral-rich mountains. Massive saguaros find precarious perches on the edges of steep cliffs. A keen eye may spot desert bighorn sheep clattering up steep grades. The remnants of old mines dot the wild landscape. A small kiosk and some old signage signal you are leaving BLM land and entering the KOFA National Wildlife Refuge set aside by Presidential decree in 1939 and expanded over the years with the mission of providing habitat for those bighorn sheep you may or may not have seen. From the kiosk, it is just a short way to the Hovatter homestead and its saguaro lined driveway. The homesite is a fantastic place to camp. If you do, walk up the hill and pay your respects to Ray and the family. Then kick back and imagine living out here in this remote, rugged, and beautiful part of Arizona.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.4/5 (6 reviews)
Todd
Official Crew
102250
Status: Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 01/06/2022

We ran this from north to south and had a blast! The view of Coyote Peak was imposing and impressive for most of the trail. Once past the peak, the trail feels remote. Hovatter Homestead was a great place to camp and rest up before continuing the journey through Kofa.
John
Official Crew
34150
Status: Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 01/06/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

This is an absolute gem in the Kofa area. I had a hard time rating this trail between a 4 and a 5, but ultimately decided on a 4 for one subjective reason, Engesser Pass has it beat. That being said, this is a must-do trail in the Kofa area. Awesome scenery a ton of incredible camping opportunities along the way. At the time of running this trail, you can tell it was more maintained than this guide has it written up, but that's not to say in a few rainstorms it couldn't change back to being the difficulty the guide presents. Again, a must-do trail in Kofa if you are looking for scenery, solitude and a great place to spend the night in such an amazing part of Arizona.
Status: Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 01/30/2021

Neat trail, we did the beginning and end of the trail in conjunction with other trails in the area. It was perfect since it started so close to the gas stations off I-10.
Status: Open
Visited: 02/29/2020

This was our first time on this trail, actually found it just using google maps. Starts in a flat, sandy area but once u get into the mountains it’s gorgeous. Did maybe a quarter of the trail I had marked so will def go back again. The gf drove in her Wrangler, hence the jeep in the pics and not my Tacoma
Trail Review: Hovatter Road - Michael Killackey
Trail Review: Hovatter Road - Michael Killackey
View More Images
Wade May
Official Crew
57450
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 01/26/2020

Hovatter Road is one of my favorite Arizona trails. Remote. Scenic. Historic. Seeing anyone else on the trail is a rarity. The trail is just challenging enough to be fun.
Trail Review: Hovatter Road - Wade May
Trail Review: Hovatter Road - Wade May
View More Images

From the Community

Start a free trial and get this level of detail on every trail guide
Start Free Trial