Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
West Clear Creek Day Hike
when Trip Report : April 2, 2022
  Trip Report : May 22, 2021
  Trip Report : June 1, 2013
where West Clear Creek Canyon Wilderness, east of Camp Verde
the hike     Flowing for 30 miles east of Camp Verde through the spectacular West Clear Creek Wilderness area, West Clear Creek is the longest drainage on the Mogollon Rim. The creek flows from the rim, cutting a gorge up to 2,000 feet deep through some of the most rugged and spectacular terrain to be found anywhere in Arizona.
    From the trailhead, we will head east along an old roadbed across the Bull Pen Ranch site. We pass an old farmhouse surrounded by prickly pear cactus. About a mile from the trailhead, we reach a trail marker and drop towards the creek for our first photo op. After a short distance, we come to the first of three stream crossings.
    We will be wading up to our knees at all three crossings, so be prepared to get wet on this hike. Bring hiking poles to help with stabilize yourself. Prepare accordingly to keep your phone, keys, and camera dry.
    Travel parallel to West Clear Creek through a lush riparian habitat with Sycamores, Fremont cottonwoods, Arizona walnut, and Arizona ash trees.
    We cross the creek a second time and continue between the creek bed and the canyon wall. You may notice patches of wild blackberry growing amidst tangles of branches washed together along the stream. The short group can stay at the second crossing or return to the parking lot (about 6 miles).
    After the third crossing, we will start a gradual climb up to a ridge several hundred feet above the north side of the creek with commanding views of the canyon and across to the stunning red rock cliffs.
    Along the ridge the landscape quickly changes from riparian to chaparral, with scrub oak, mesquite, holly, and juniper. The prickly pear cacti are blooming with magenta, yellow, and orange cup-shape flowers.
    After descending back down the side of the canyon we reach the creek at the 5-mile point. We will stop for lunch at a shady area next to the creek and return by the same route.
Required:
•  At least 3 liters of water
•  Head covering
•  Sunglasses
•  Sunblock
Recommended:
•  Hiking poles
•  Snacks
•  Camera
distance 10.0 Miles, Second Crossing Turnaround 5.85 Miles
time 6-7 hours
EC Short +- 400', Long +-600' elevation change
elevations 3,600' at trailhead to 4,200' 4th crossing (turnaround point)
starting at
Bull pen ranch Day Use Area 34° 32' 24.8" N,  111° 42' 28.1" W
type round trip
on trail 100% — West Clear Creek Trail #17
USGS Topo Maps: Walker Mountain, Buckhorn Mountain.
rating "B"     Rate yourself as a hiker.
dogs? no
cost Sharing gas expenses with the driver.
The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.
weather Camp Verde
meet 6:30 AM in the Fry’s parking lot on the SW corner of I-17 & Bell Road. Park behind Denny’s, near the entrance to the Deer Valley Park & Ride.
drive
Note: The road is not paved and is rough (washboard). High clearance vehicles required.
•  Take I-17 north to Exit 285 (the General Crook Trail), the first of two exits for Camp Verde.
Exit here and continue for about two miles to the junction with Highway 260.
Turn right (east) at the junction and drive for another five miles on 260 to just past Milepost 226.
Turn left (north) onto FR 618 and continue for another 2.2 miles to the signed turnoff for the Bull Pen Ranch area and FR 215.
Turn right (east) onto FR 215 and drive for 3 more miles to the wooden Bull Pen Ranch sign.
Turn left at the sign and go another quarter-mile to the corralled parking area. The trail starts at the gate near the restrooms.
See Map.
  Information: Red Rock Ranger District 928-282-4119 or Coconino National Forest.

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updated April 5, 2022 © Copyright 2022, Arizona Trailblazers.  All rights reserved.