Hiking The West Clear Creek Trail
The 3rd most popular hiking trail in Arizona.
Monday 15 August 2016 03:03 GMT
Southeast of Sedona and east of Camp Verde, the 7.5 mile West Clear Creek Trail (#17) treks up one of the most beautiful streams in the entire Southwest. The canyon is cut narrow and deep into the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. The route requires wading or swimming a half dozen pools. The northern terminus requires an 1,800' scramble up a steep, talus-strewn slope to the high plateau of pinyon-juniper forest.
To reach the hiking trailhead from US17 near Camp Verde, follow SR279 (General Crook Highway) east as it turns into FS9. Before reaching NFS Clear Creek CG, turn left heading northeast on FS618. Veer right on FS215 heading east 3 miles to trailhead parking.
This trail provides the only marked and maintained access to the lower reaches of West Clear Creek Canyon Wilderness. 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 downstream end of the trail attracts large numbers of anglers, picnickers, and other streamside recreators attracted by the clear pools, slickrock water slides, and tree-shaded riparian areas tucked away between red rock canyon walls.
From the trails upper terminus, at Bald Hill, the route drops 1,800 feet down a steep, talus - strewn slope from a high plateau of pinyon-juniper forests to the canyon floor. It then winds its way downstream along a stretch of secluded pools and rocky riffles. Bring your wading shoes on this one, youll have to cross the stream at least four times. In times of high runoff, this trail can be impassable. In the middle of a hot desert summer you ll appreciate the opportunity to cool off.
Overall, West Clear Creek Trail is the 3rd most popular hiking trail of all 49 hikes in Arizona. 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.