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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

WEST CLEAR CREEK

WEST CLEAR CREEK TRAIL Coconino National Forest
UPDATE: Bull Pen will reopen on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013  for day use (6 a.m. - 10 p.m.) only.
UPDATE: As of May 23, 2013, FR 215 will be closed.  Contact the Red Rock Ranger District for more info at 928-203-7500. Break out the Gore Tex and wading sandals because you’re gonna get wet on this one! Four challenging, thigh-deep creek crossings along this beautiful trail make the going a real delight! Parts of the trail parallel the sycamore and reed-lined, banks of West Clear Creek while other segments climb along desert ridges hundreds of feet above the water. Washouts make finding the trail kind of tricky in places, especially in the first two miles so watch carefully for cairns tucked in the shadows to keep on the path. From its origin on the Mogollon Rim, the creek cuts a deep gorge through some of the most spectacular terrain in Arizona. Entirely canyon bound, the most scenic segments of the trail pass through soaring limestone and russet sandstone cliffs that cast rich reflections onto the deep pools of icy water that flow serenely at their bases. Hiking sticks come in handy for where the path traverses boulder-strewn wash areas and slick river rock. Although there are many hiking options in the area, including hike-swim-backpacking adventures and a grueling 2,000-foot climb to the top of the Rim, many hikers opt to turn back at the 4.5 mile point where the canyon narrows and the water becomes too deep to wade. Length: 9 miles round trip Rating: moderate Elevation change: 500 feet Getting there: From Phoenix, take I-17 north to exit #285, (General Crook Trail). Go right (east) and continue for 2 miles to the Highway 260 junction. Turn right (east) at the junction and proceed for another 6 miles to just past milepost 226 and then turn north (left) onto FR 618. Continue on FR 618 for 2.2 miles to the signed turn off for the Bull Pen area and FR 215. Turn right (east) onto FR 215 and continue for 3 miles to the wooden “Bull Pen” sign. Turn left at the sign and go another two-tenths of a mile to the corralled parking area. The trail starts at the gate near the restroom. The dirt roads are passable by sedan, but a high-clearance vehicle is recommended. Information: www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino (928) 527-3600

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