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Saturday, August 8, 2009

EAST CHEVELON CREEK

EAST CHEVELON CREEK Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest The trickling creek and shallow pools of water in the bottom of Chevelon Canyon, feed a lush forest teeming with plant and animal life. Elk, wild turkey, beavers, blue herons, eagles and even the occasional bear can be spotted snacking on wild berries and succulent grasses in this pristine, shallow valley. Even though it’s located near the bustling Woods Canyon Lake campground on the Mogollon Rim, this unmarked route bestows a distinctively “wild” flavor. To find the route, walk down to the lake from the Spillway Campground. Once at the water, head east (right) at the earthen dam, scramble down the embankment, pick up one of the dirt fisherman’s paths and stroll into the canyon. Over the first half-mile, the tread way is distinct, but is soon swallowed up by enormous pine trees and dense riparian vegetation including healthy clumps of False Hellebore. To stay on course, simply pick your way along the banks of the creek using fallen trees and rocks to hop the water as needed. Casual hikers can easily trek two miles into the canyon to where the creek intersects Woods Canyon. Because exploration beyond this point requires expert navigational skills, most day hikers make the junction their turnaround point. HIGHLIGHTS: densely-wooded creek canyon with abundant wildlife LENGTH: 4 miles roundtrip RATING: easy ELEVATION: 6,300 -6,100 feet DRIVING DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 137 miles one-way GETTING THERE: From Payson, travel east on Highway 260 foe 32 miles to Rim Road (Forest Road 300) just past milepost 282. Turn left onto FR 300 and continue 3.5 miles to Woods Canyon Lake Road (Forest Road 105). Go right and continue 1.5 miles, bearing right at a fork and park in the Spillway Day Use Parking lot. INFORMATION: 928-535-4481 or fs.fed.us/r3/asnf

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