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Thursday, July 22, 2010

MACK'S CROSSING

MACK’S CROSSING Coconino National Forest Since it was abandoned in the 1940s, the old road leading to Mack’s Crossing has disintegrated into a precipitous ledge overlooking a gaping gorge carved by East Clear Creek. Even though these rough conditions don’t deter brave souls in fishing-gear-laden ATVs from careening down the serpentine route-- hiking at a leisurely pace is the best way to savor the dramatic beauty of this canyon. The downhill trek to the creek begins on the sunny, summer-cabin-peppered lip of the Mogollon Rim, passing fossiliferous limestone outcroppings and a stand of elegant Arizona walnut trees before rounding a bend where grand views of the waterway 600 feet below grab the spotlight. Near the creek, thickets of wild roses, alders, and exotic wildflowers color the landscape serving up handy excuses to stop and take in the sights. Although the official trail ends where the road meets the sandy shore of the stream, opportunities for wading, swimming and fishing abound both up and downstream. LENGTH: 4 miles (on trail) ELEVATION: 6,250 – 6,860 feet RATING: moderate BEST SEASONS: April - November DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 165 mils one-way GETTING THERE: From the junction of AZ 87 and AZ 260 in Payson, go north on 87 past Clint’s Well to milepost 304.5 and turn right onto Enchanted Lane (Forest Road 319). Continue 0.2 miles to Green Ridge Dr., hang a right and go 0.5 miles to Juniper Dr. From here, turn right and go a short distance to Cedar Dr. and follow it to the “primitive road 137” sign. Park along the road—do not block private driveways. INFORMATION: refer to the Coconino National Forest map

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