The trail is pretty level through with a few inclines and river crossings. and don't take a small car, the dirt road to get to the trailhead is rocky and awkward to maneuver. This trail is phenomenal! I use quotes because this isn’t much of a trail at all. not too hard either. Summary: An interesting hike that takes you to a nice creek. Shade here and there. This is a well-maintained easy to follow trail. Directions from Flagstaff: Drive 40 miles south on Interstate 17. At the same time, Clear Creek was stocked with trout so that visitors could do a bit of fishing. Hi! Scenery is beautiful. Also careful with jumping on rocks in the water very slippery!! From there, the route passes under a canopy of impressive sycamores and piggybacks an old ranch road on the north bank of the creek. camped close by and started around 8. not much close to the water so that was okay for us. Traverse juniper-lined benches above the creek that have three-mile views of the 1,200-foot banded canyon walls, and drop to water-level for four cairn-marked crossings of the cool, Arizona cypress-shaded waters. From its western terminus at Bull Pen Ranch at the canyon mouth, the trail leads upstream into the deep, narrow gorge which medium-sized West Clear Creek has cut into the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. The east end of West Clear Creek is a 700ft deep sandstone walled canyon with near vertical walls throughout. © Copyright 2020 Arizona Department of Transportation, State of Arizona. Don’t touch. Bring a lot of water! Because of that, I decided to head further north, out of the concrete jungle, up to West Clear Creek. Horses Allowed: Yes The trail begins by threading along a narrow shelf that drops 700' to the canyon floor. Refreshing water in the creek, perfect spots to wade in and cool off. The West Clear Creek Trail (the longest and most-used trail within the wilderness) has four crossings that range from knee-height to impassable depending on time of year, weather, and flooding. West Clear Creek Wilderness Area is a deep entrenched canyon with a year round stream flowing through it. Although there is sand in the state, along with venomous reptiles and eerie invertebrates, there’s more to the landscape than that. The trail is nice and the water crossings are fun. Hike up West Clear Creek using the Bull Pen Ranch trail on the Mogollon Rim in Arizona. The parking lot was overcrowded later in the day. during the last 2.4miles of the trail it is very exposed and you can get caught off guard in the sun with little water so do NOT bring dogs. You are exposed to the sun 90% of the time, only shade is at creek crossings. Heading east on the south side of the perennial creek, the trail meanders through a lush riparian forest and quickly comes to the second creek crossing, followed by the official boundary of the West Clear Creek Wilderness. However, if you’re in excellent condition and you want to extend the hike, follow the trail north through a draw that climbs almost 2,000 feet in 2 miles. Your trail feedback and ratings are an important resource for fellow hikers and provide a personal account of your trail experience from which others may learn. But that is just a small part of what there is to see in this remarkable place. I went Memorial Day weekend and got there early. Lots of pretty scenery in the valley and along the creek. Unlike its dammed sister East Clear Creek (dammed at Blue Ridge Res. I slid and fell a few times on the way down. Obviously, you’ll get a bigger notch in your belt for taking the long way, but there’s no shame in staying down by the water. Back then, Arizona was mostly under a shallow sea. It’s an unexpected oasis that shatters stereotypes and nourishes an array of plants and trees, including hanging gardens of maidenhair ferns, scarlet penstemons, columbines, cottonwoods, sycamores, bigtooth maples, Douglas firs, Arizona walnuts, willows, ash and ponderosa pines. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Then, after about a mile, it cuts south for the first of four stream crossings. Bob Bear Trail (Formerly Fossil Springs Trail), Indian Maiden Falls via West Clear Creek Trail. This is one of the few trailheads allowing access to this area from the south side. (Brush Creek trail will probably see some improvements in the near future) At the top you will come to a dirt road. Drive about 9 miles on FR 618 to FR 215 and turn east about 3 miles to the Bullpen Ranch trailhead. To access upper West Clear Creek from the north, near Happy Jack, AZ, you should plan to enter on the Tramway Trail, accessible from Forest Road 81E, off Lake Mary Road, 7 miles north of the split from state highway 87. Backpackers should use water shoes at crossings. Keep in mind, if you do find an ancient relic, it’s a federal offense to remove it or disturb it. Anything you step on will be slippery. The views of the mountains, rivers, and forest are just breath taking and this was one of the best hikes I've done so far. Looking around, you’ll understand why Congress protected 15,468 acres of this canyon in 1984. West Clear Creek is a gorgeous walled-in stream within Verde Valley, some distance south of Flagstaff. Wear a wide rim hat and long sleeve sun shirt! The towering sandstone spires and dense forest cover contrast sharply with the classic high desert environment on the west end of West Clear Creek. Resources unfortunately the trail doesn't follow the creek but instead takes the upper ridge line ans the only way to the river is brushwacking and climbing down steep-ish topography. The first mile, or so, of the trail is exposed with no shade, but when you start hiking along the creek it is all shades with tons of options to stop and swim to cool off for about the next mile. From its western terminus at Bull Pen Ranch at the canyon mouth, the trail leads upstream into the deep, narrow gorge which medium-sized West Clear Creek has cut into the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. I brought my pups and thankfully they are trained for this but I'll never do it again, it was just too darn hot. Sand dunes, snakes, scorpions ... there’s a long list of stereotypes about Arizona. There are mountains, meadows, lakes, rivers and creeks, too. Backpacking gem for sure, coming back to stay another week and fish Bathrooms were locked (7/23/2020), sadly saw lots of trash left behind. Long, hot, rocky but end point was worth it! Thinking about doing this trail next weekend. Keep an eye out for snakes and Gila monsters. The trailhead is located at the end of the bumpy road, at a place called Bull Pen Ranch. West Clear Creek Trail Hike. Cool water and green trees fill this this shady oasis in an otherwise rugged desert. then will become increasingly rideable as you get further up into the meadow. is rocky and bumpy at several spots; we drove a Honda CRV and drove slowly to maneuver jagged rocks. At the bottom you'll end up at West Clear creek… This trail provides the only marked and maintained access to the lower reaches of West Clear Creek Canyon Wilderness. Visit … From the top of the rim to the bottom is 0.7 miles and about 750 ft of elevation loss. The east side utilizes a vacated road as trail to the Pedestrian Bridge. Elevation: 3,700 to 4,100 feet This trail is steep as it drops into West Clear creek and there is some scrambling involved, but nothing too scary. Challenge Level: Easy. The easiest route to explore its mysteries is from FR215 and the trailhead at Bull Pen ranch. The Forest Rd 218? Pick up your trash ppl. This is the “trail” down to West Clear Creek. Although Forest Road 215 is a little rough in places, the road offers terrific views of the canyon into which you’ll be hiking — as you look down, your Lewis and Clark impulses will shift into overdrive. I have a subaru crosstrek and felt very safe driving. Length: 11 miles round-trip so much contrast on this hike. There are 4 water crossings. Several of the better hiking trails are nearby West Clear Creek Trail including Huckaby Trail, West Fork Trail, Hot Loop Trail, Cathedral Rock / Templeton Trail, Wilson Mountain Trail and Jim Thompson Trail. The West Clear Creek Wilderness is a 15,238-acre (6,167 ha) wilderness area in the U.S. state of Arizona.West Clear Creek is formed by the junction of Willow Creek and Clover Creek in the Mogollon Rim, which is part of the Colorado Plateau; the Mogollon Rim is the major part of the Arizona transition zone at the southwest of the Colorado Plateau of Utah-Colorado, Arizona-New Mexico. Directions: From Interstate 17 near Camp Verde, go southeast on State Route 260 for 7.9 miles to Forest Road 618. GO EARLY!! Roads accessing the wilderness can be rough and a sturdy vehicle is recommended. There are three river crossings in the 8.8 mile hike. West Clear is a easy hiking trail with some shaded areas. (34°33’28.7″N 111°25’13.7″W)Source: USDA.gov From here you have options to swim, river hike, and fish, although the best swimming holes are deeper into the canyon. You’ll get a sense of just how spectacular it is as you drive in. This hike uses Trail #17 to access the creek, then heads off trail up the stream bed. Is located in the northeast corner of All Star Lanes Bowling Alley. 2 things- the way in is a ROUGH up and down dirt road not built for small cars, and bring water shoes/bathing suits! As you cross into the wilderness, you’ll see Black Mountain to the south and the Blodgett Basin to the north. Copying and downloading images from this site is strictly prohibited. moderate is about right. This trail provides the only marked and maintained access to the lower reaches of West Clear Creek Canyon Wilderness. couldn’t believe how beautiful it was the entire hike. Kind of a scouting trip for later anyway. This trail provides the only marked and maintained access to the lower reaches of West Clear Creek Wilderness. Or turn east off FR 618 on FR 214 about 8 miles from the highway and turn east 4.7 miles to the Bald Hill Road. Water in the desert is always a rare and magical thing. the trail requires some river walking and the water also feels amazing and is super clean. It’s very steep and full of loose rock and dirt. Make sure you take a hat, WATER, and hiking boots they really saved my toes. Heading east on the south side of the perennial creek, the trail meanders through a lush riparian forest and quickly comes to the second creek crossing, followed by the official boundary of the West Clear Creek Wilderness. Overall, West Clear Creek Trail is the 3rd most popular hiking trail of all 49 hikes in Arizona. From Bald Hill trailhead in Coconino National Forest, descend 1,800 feet over three miles of talus slopes to the canyon floor and pick up West Clear Creek Trail (#17). Went in about 7:30am May 18, from Bull Pen with my LabDood. 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