West Clear Creek Trail

April 24th, 2011

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This trail is supposed to be 7.5 miles long and according to the forest service, it should take about 4.5 hours to complete. That’s like 1.6 miles an hour. They rate it as Easy/Strenuous. In reality, The hike is easy/moderate if you are traveling in one direction. I you are traveling in the other, the trail becomes difficult at around the 5 mile mark when you start the 1800′ elevation trek up Bald Hill (understatement!).

Our experience was a bit different. After about 3.75 hours of hiking and four stream crossings, we had gone about 4.5 miles. That’s around 1.2 miles an hour. Not too bad considering the elevation changes and the scenery that constantly beckons you to stop and try to take it all in.

The trail is very diverse. We started out at Bull Pen Dispersed Camping area (car camping). The first part of the trail was a flat and sandy white sycamore forest situated along the creek. There are hike in dispersed campsites all along the trail. If you stay on the main trail, which can be hard to do with all the the offshoots to campsites, it will eventually open up to a flat, grassy/shrubby valley where you will walk past the old bull pen ranch house.

West Clear Creek Trailhead - Camp Verde, AZ
West Clear Creek Trail - Camp Verde, AZ
West Clear Creek Trail - Camp Verde, AZ
West Clear Creek Trail - Camp Verde, AZ

West Clear Creek Trail - Camp Verde, AZ

The trail makes it way back down to the river. When it does, it takes you to a very special place. I couldn’t capture the beauty of this part of the trail on my camera phone. The pictures don’t do it justice. There are crystal clear swimming holes with red rock sunning areas. Here, the red rock canyon walls are decorated with yellow columbine, prickly pear, scarlet monkey flower, and other plants that create a hanging garden and gives the area a tropical feel. Soon, you will find yourself wondering if you will be able to edge along the canyon wall. That’s when you will spot your first rock cairn which signifies the first creek crossing. Watch for those cairns. Otherwise, it can be easy to get turned around at creek crossings. They are rocky and you cannot see the trail as well. The trail crosses the creek again shortly after the first crossing. Continue Reading »