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Friday, July 24, 2009

CHRISTOPHER CREEK BOX CANYON

UPDATE: Sept 12, 2013-- Spoke with the forest service today. Even though the box canyon is located on forest service land, they have  NO plans to develop a hiker trail or trailhead.  The reason has to do with ADOT right-of-way.  Also, ADOT plans to install a 12-ft. wall along SR260 in the area above the canyon.  (Good luck getting around that.) Gila County has also been actively towing vehicles parked along SR260 for obstructing traffic.  Access now involves trespassing on private property. Recommendation---do not hike here.
UPDATE: April 2013--Construction continues to thwart access to this area. There is currently no stable/official route to the box.
September 2012 UPDATE:
Road construction on AZ260 continues to restrict access.
Do not try to hike in through the Boy Scout Camp, it is private property and hikers have reported being stopped and turned away. “THE BOX” Christopher Creek Canyon There’s always a lot of woopin’ and a hollerin’ at this favorite summertime swimmin’ hole where the scene on any given weekend is a collision of Andy Griffith-esque country charm and the Nine Inch Nails crowd. Cooler-toting baby boomers in plaid Bermuda shorts and white socks mingle with young people in butt-crack-bearing swim trunks to cool off in the clear water and fresh, pine-scented air of Christopher Creek box canyon. For millions of years, the spring-fed waters of Christopher Creek that spill from the base of the Mogollon Rim, have sculpted the rose-tinted ramparts that flank the gorge and funnel water into slippery chutes, churning rapids and low-flow channels awash in swirls of pine needle litter. The most spectacular section of the gorge is less than a mile in length and can be fully explored by those who don’t mind boulder hopping, minor hand-over-foot climbing, wading and swimming. However, most of the action takes place at the head of the canyon where the sun-warmed escarpments fill up quickly with sunbathers and weekend warriors. So, if you’re looking for solitude---try a visiting on a Tuesday. HIGHLIGHTS: Canyon-bound outdoor “spa”. LENGTH: 1.25 miles roundtrip RATING: moderate-difficult ELEVATION: 5,680 – 5,400 feet DRIVING DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 120 miles GETTING THERE: From Payson, go east on Highway 260 for 19 miles. Between mileposts 271 and 272, look for a dirt turnoff on the south (right) side of the road. Watch that rut! NOTE: a visitor in July 2011 reports that, due to road construction in the area, this parking area is off limits (see comment below).  According to ADOT, road maintenance on SR260 is causing traffic slow downs and lane restrictions,
so I suspect that the uproar may be due to parked vehicles blocking the flow of traffic or getting in the way of dozers. The road project is scheduled to run thru December 2011. Please leave a comment if you encounter drama at the trailhead.  FOR CURRENT ROAD CONDITIONS:
http://www.az511.gov/adot/files/
INFORMATION: refer to the Tonto National Forest map

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are NOT allowed to park in that dirt area on the south side of 260. Forest rangers on a power trip started yelling down in the canyon that all our cars were being towed. So I had to run up the trail fast to be lectured by these jerks. I asked where are we suposed to park and I got the typical "I dont care as long as it is not there" smart ass comment. Then the ranger started complaining that they keep getting calls from the road construction company complaining about all the cars parked there. Well DUH, that has been the access to that trail for many years! But you can't argue with a jerk in a uniform on a power trip can you? Whos land does it belong to? US Citizens! Yes us! Not the construction company and not some rentacops gone out to harass people!
The hike is nice and box canyon is awesome, just don't park in that dirt area. "I don't care where you park, just don't park there" - US Forest Ranger

Be! said...

Sadly I tried to go this past Saturday and due to construction I couldn't find the trail head at all. Finally we just hiked down and the creek appeared to be quite dried up. I'm not sure we were in the correct spot due to lack of mile markers as well as the change of landscape, but there was not enough water to really play in, just enough to get your feet wet and perhaps get some diseases from what stagnant water was there. We ended up in the boy scout camp, where we were encouraged to leave via an angry cub Mom. Best of luck to everyone else here though

Ryan said...

If you made it to the boy scout camp then you were just up river from the canyon that we call Box Canyon.

Ryan said...

I just got home from doing this hike. Parking is tough. If you are resourceful you can figure it out. Either park in the traditional place, slipping behind the guard rail or got it the Christopher Creek NFS camp. One other option exits, but I'm not going to post it, you have to call ahead and ask permission. Email me for details! The slide waterfall jump was awesome! 15 feet of 100 mph slide and a 35 foot drop into the water! The hike out was like the Baatan Death March! I love this hike!

Anonymous said...

Box Canyon has no parking anymore because of the amount of rescues that go o in there. If you try to gain entrence through the cub scout camp you will be turned around. There is also no way to get into box canyon without tresspassing. The scout camp owns part of the trail from the highway, own the trail from Christopher creek camp ground, and they own the first pool at box Canyon.

Anonymous said...

The best way to do this is to call ADOT @ 602-712-7412 and try to talk to Jonathan Bates. They have a construction yard at the end of the hike. If you park here you have to start the hike with a walk up the highway instead of doing it at the end. You can do this hike without trespassing.

Anonymous said...

Was at the construction yard off the 260 but couldn't find the beginning of trailhead...can someone mark how many steps up the highway from the construction yard it is or put a marker...forest trails usually put a tall 4x4 with the length of the trail and a arrow pointing which way to go...would be very helpful for those who would like to hike down.

Luau Larry said...

So does anybody have any recent advice on how to park and get into the Box Canyon? I moved away from AZ for a couple of years, and before I left I know the construction had ruined the access to the old parking area. I'm not seeing any recent suggestions on how to get in.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried this trail recently? I understand there is still a lot of flux in the area with the construction. Is the trailhead still in the same location if we can find a suitable place to park?

Anonymous said...

It is Private Property, you cannot get there legally and they will tow your car or chase you off. They aren't on a "power trip", it is a liability issue and the last few times people have "wisely" chose to ignore all cautions and go there anyway, have had to be rescued with helicopters.. So again, we are not on a power trip. We are trying to tell you it is not worth risking your neck to get somewhere that doesn't even consist of enough water to swim or even to see a waterfall. That information is a few years out of date. Try water wheel, down Mesa dell caballo road across from the Home Depot in payson az.