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Sunday, May 24, 2015


Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
Chevelon Creek flows north on the Mogollon Rim

It's a long, dizzying hike from the top of Telephone Ridge down to Chevelon Creek. The 1.25-mile, cliff-hugging trail plunges 700 feet to reach the pristine waterway coveted by anglers and beloved by hikers seeking solitude in this otherwise congested area of the Mogollon Rim south of Chevelon Canyon Lake. Although the Telephone Ridge Trail #103 was built only as a path from the rim to the creek, it's possible to continue hiking up or downstream. Just follow the water and be prepared for creek crossings and bush
whacking. Even if all you do is trek down trail #103 to the creek and back, the trip is a satisfying adventure. Not recommended for the directionally challenged or faint-of-heart, the narrow route snakes down the canyon wall through a mix of pine-oak woodlands and precariously exposed ridges. In some spots, social trails leave the true route heading straight down the cliffs. The official trail makes much safer, long climb turns, so if you find yourself going dangerously vertical, backtrack and scope out the better (and more sustainable) path. At the bottom of Chevelon Canyon, a field of deadfall from an old wildfire obscures the trail, so make a mental note of your entry point before exploring the alternating patches of open meadows, willow-cluttered bogs and deep pools along the creek.
LENGTH: 1.25 miles one way on trail.
RATING: moderate-difficult
ELEVATION: 6,450' - 7,225'
From Payson, go 29 miles east on State Route 260 to Rim Road (FR300, signed for Woods Canyon Lake). Turn left and continue 8.4 miles to FR 169, turn right and go 7.4 miles to FR 119. Follow FR119 1.5 miles to the FR 180 junction. From here, the road degrades into a very rough, narrow 2-track suitable only for high clearance vehicles. At this point you can park in the turnouts and hike or carefully drive the last 1.5 miles on FR 119 to the trailhead.

1 comment:

DesertNails8 said...

Great photos! I imagined myself there.