A shallow pebbly beach entry is perfect for young families, and the deeper water will keep the big kids happy too. 179 exit on I-17.Drive about 9 miles from I-17 south-east on FR 618 to FR 215. Getting to West Clear Creek . There’s an out-and-back trail that’s two miles long that will take you to the falls, and the best place to take a dip is about halfway through that hike. You’ll need a license, of course, which you can pick up in Flagstaff, Sedona, Camp Verde, or most likely one of the smaller towns in the area. This part of the canyon the travel is rugged and difficult and will test even the most fit outdoor enthusiast. Credit: Strawberry Park Hot Springs Link Copied to Clipboard. West Clear Creek Trail is a 8.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Sedona, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. For me this is what West Clear Creek is all about. A 2.5-mile natural trail with 20 stops and each stop is one of the native plant species. Hard to imagine a better swimming hole than Bull Pen, a deep pool along West Clear Creek. To access upper West Clear Creek from the north, near Happy Jack, AZ, you should plan to enter on the Tramway Trail, accessible from Forest Road 81E, off Lake Mary Road, 7 miles north of the split from state highway 87. Ellery Creek Big Hole, West MacDonnell Ranges. Bell Trail. (34°33’28.7″N 111°25’13.7″W)Source: USDA.gov From here you have options to swim, river hike, and fish, although the best swimming holes are deeper into the canyon. Early on, a swimming hole … Please enjoy and respect! A pleasant swimming hole in the West Clear Creek Wilderness in central Arizona. The clear cold water invites only the hardiest canyoneers. The Calloway Trail takes you into the central portion of West Clear Creek. There is a pavilion and picnic tables, bathrooms, it is very nice. To float your pack there are two ready options: 1)  Bring an inner tube, inflate it, and set your pack across. You’ll find this swimming hole about 15 miles east of Camp Verde along West Clear Creek. Guest post by Brian Gruters. To travel into this part of the canyon it is pretty much an overnight affair. Bell Trail follows Wet Beaver Creek to one of the most sought-after swimming holes in the region: The Crack. To access upper West Clear Creek from the north, near Happy Jack, AZ, you should plan to enter on the Tramway Trail, accessible from Forest Road 81E, off Lake Mary Road, 7 miles north of the split from state highway 87. Terry and I have been to this swimming hole 4 times now and have had it all to ourselves every time.There is no formal trail. That was the only way we knew how to get there. One of my favorite tram memories is two of us deciding to send our duffel ( no tech gear in those days) bag full of camping gear down the cable. People know Camp Verde for its wineries and Out of Africa. West Clear Creek offers water holes for swimming, excellent fishing, and back country camping. West Fork Oak Creek Trail: Easy hike with a nice swimming hole - See 1,237 traveler reviews, 688 candid photos, and great deals for Sedona, AZ, at Tripadvisor. A beautiful waterfall area near Helen is Dukes Creek Falls, and this is also a great swimming hole. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. West Clear Creek Camping: RV camping and tent camping is allowed outside of West Clear Creek Wilderness in the Coconino National Forest. Not only is the swimming terrific; the natural scenery surrounding the swimming hole is absolutely beautiful. Those comfortable driving at 60-miles per hour with the window down can experience pine scent in high relief, like the smell of smoke where nothing should be burning, as they wind their way out of the barren lands of southern Arizona. Turn east and drive about 3 miles to the Bullpen Ranch trailhead. West Clear Creek. Trail. The road to Cash Tank Trailhead is no joke. Before you get there, plan on making at least one short swim, and possibly more, depending on the water level. Grasshoppers and coachman flies seemed to work well in August. Nice swimming spots that are accessible exist along the first mile of the Red Creek Trail from the Laneville Trailhead. This isn’t that sort of trip. Green River Gorge Swimming Hole (H) Central Cascades - Stevens Pass. Take I-17 to Highway 260 at Camp Verde (in between Phoenix and Flagstaff). Strawberry Park Hot Springs Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Blodgett Basin Trail #31. As Glendale High School kids we only knew of the route by word of mouth. The best place to camp for accessing the west end of the wilderness area (and the West Clear Creek Trail) is along Bull Pen Road (FR 215). And very few people willing to do the hard work it takes to get to the best parts. It is around a mile or so heading down stream to get to this beautiful swimming hole. To know Arizona well, a person needs to be familiar with the Mogollon Rim (pronounced “MO-ghee-on”) region of the state, stretching from the northwest corner of Yavapai County, halfway between Prescott and Kingman, to the New Mexico border. But this treasure isn’t without tribulations. There is also a nice (primitive, backpacking) camping area right by the swimming hole where there may also be a lean-to for camping without a tent. Given this type of terrain, it’s wise to look at West Clear Creek as two types of adventure: quick access for out and back hikes, loop hikes, or shuttle hikes that take one to three days; and through hiking or section hiking the entire canyon, which most hikers should expect to take five days. It winds along Wet Beaver Creek with several side trails down to the water. You are going to have to drive down a five mile long, pretty decent dirt road and hike about 2/3 of a mile along a flat trail to get back to the hole. Depending on where in the roughly 200-mile crosscut of Arizona you make this transition, the journey from desert to mountain can be smooth or abrupt. Required fields are marked *. Be careful what you put in your side pockets during dry sections. Several portions of the river form narrows—high-walled sections where the river reaches from wall to wall—which are challenging yet gorgeous obstacles for anyone planning to hike. You’ll come up to a natural waterslide that plunges into the swimming hole area. This is a good place to set up a shuttle, if you’re interested in day hiking. Just don’t miss the trail or you’ll find yourself walking into a very long canyon. 4. If you want to avoid some of the crowds at the Bull Pen Trailhead of West Clear Creek this may be your answer. CLEAR CREEK CAMPGROUND [CLEA]: Nice Forest Service campground with a swimming hole in West Clear Creek. Last week we listed the best swimming hole in every state in the nation. Trail. Add Photo (s) Drop Photo (s) This page is a stub. After the fifth swim or so you stop deflating and inflating the tube, which means you’ll be hiking one-handed, carrying an inner tube, further exposing it to sharp plants. 15 miles west of Camp Verde on West Clear Creek, you’ll find the classic swimming hole called Bull Pen. Hiking shoes—an old pair of tennis shoes will work fine. Again, dogs not advised. These spots mark the ends of a steep canyon that is known for waterfalls and slides. Cool water species such as smallmouth bass and green... Camp, Hike, Swim swim Swimming Hole hike Hiking Trail camp Campsite Contribute. Cool water species such as smallmouth bass and green... Camp, Hike, Swim swim Swimming Hole hike Hiking Trail camp Campsite Drive 45 minutes south of Austin to reach the glorious Blue Hole, located just outside of Wimberley. From either access point, you’ll walk downstream for about three miles, to the next trail out of the canyon. 3. Swimming through these sections is chilly work, requiring at least a basic idea of how to swim with a pack and keep your gear dry (discussed at the end of this article). So beautiful! Again, dogs not advised. To get here, continue east on RT 260 past the turnoff for FR 618 (above) a short way to a sign for Clear Creek Campground. Thanks for sharing!! The waterway forms a slender riparian corridor that … In the late forties, getting there was tough, generally having to move logs to get down the road to the tramway terminus from the north. Here are details on how to get there. West Clear Creek From Flagstaff, take Lake Mary Road to Forest Road 81, which is about 7 or 8 miles past the Happy Jack Ranger Station. West Clear Creek was always the most magical place in Arizona for this native son. Are the hanging Gardens a part of the hike to Maiden Falls? Highlights of this section are the White Box narrows, a 70-yard swim through a corridor of ashen sandstone, and the Hanging Gardens waterfall, a mossy, drippy wonder with space for camping, about two miles south of Cash Tank. ...."From the trailhead, West Clear Creek Trail #17 follows a very wide maintained path. (34°33’22.3″N 111°28’35.5″W) Watch for a cairn on the south side of the river just before the river makes a hard bend to the right/north (a note of caution: there’s no signage and rock cairns are impermanent structures, so it’s best to bring a map at least, and possibly a GPS with pre-set waypoints so you don’t miss this trail). There is an amazing swimming hole with a rope swing located on Meadow Branch of Sleepy Creek Just below Devil’s Nose. The scenery is stunning but the journey is challenging. Go toward the campground and follow signs to the Day Use Area. Being a significant Aboriginal site, the area has a very spiritual feel. Hiking poles or a walking stick (which you’ll find plenty of along the way) are essential for keeping your balance on slick rocks in the river. Clear Creek State Park: Swimming - See 85 traveler reviews, 76 candid photos, and great deals for Sigel, PA, at Tripadvisor. Unlike its dammed sister East Clear Creek (dammed at Blue Ridge Res. About .4 miles in you will see and old cabin that has cactus growing from the roof. Losing your pack isn’t really a concern, but submerging it will add weight; and if you haven’t waterproofed well you could be in trouble. Clear Creek State Park: Swimming - See 85 traveler reviews, 76 candid photos, and great deals for Sigel, PA, at Tripadvisor. Blodgett Basin Trail #31. Image of swimming, rocks, river - 2867133 West Clear Creek is well stocked by the forest service with brown trout and various other fish. I can’t imagine driving there without in case it rained. 0 Star This. West Clear Creek (WCC) Wilderness Area starts in the ponderosa pine forests on the north side of the Mogollon Rim, about 40 minutes southeast of Flagstaff. Take FR 81 for about 4 miles to FR 81E. Drive west out Clear Creek Road in southern Redding and head for the Clear Creek overlook. We are missing Doc since she is still in Colorado "learning" stuff. (It’s always advisable to have a paper map, even when you have a handheld GPS. Passage Creek in Virginia’s George Washington National Forest offers several spots for water lovers to play. I’m so glad to read some of the history of the cable down there on this site. Learn about swimming holes such as West Clear Creek Trail No. The swimming hole can be accessed by a 0.1-mile easy trail from the parking area. This is the last exit from the canyon for about two days. Chickamauga Creek Distance from Nashville: 68 miles Guests of the bed and breakfast have long boasted about the 40 acres of serene forest, Cooper’s Lagoon swimming hole, and … This is a popular summer swimming hole at a bend in Clear Creek. From here you have options to swim, river hike, and fish, although the best swimming holes are deeper into the canyon. 8. Blue Hole. Since you’ll be putting your pack right into the drink, make sure you stow everything. Enjoy a picnic on the sandy beach and look up towards the top of the cliffs. West Clear Creek is the longest drainage of the rim, winding for 30 miles and up to 2,000 feet below the rim. West Clear Creek I just took a three day two night trip into Clear Creek Wilderness in Arizona, with my friend Cliff. Water temperature is warmer than many other spots, a shallow beach is … West Clear Creek From Flagstaff, take Lake Mary Road to Forest Road 81, which is about 7 or 8 miles past the Happy Jack Ranger Station. The swimming hole is about ¾ mile up the creek and you can’t miss it. Clear Creek Campground Camp Verde, Arizona 40.0 miles E. West Clear Creek flows along the boundary of this desert canyon country camp and is a popular place for hiking, swimming, wading and fishing. Loved your article – glad to see you writing! The trees didnt have leaves yet and the water was still pretty chilly, but that didnt stop us from getting into the summer spirit. Near Trails. Pack the sleeping roll for an overnighter at Beaver Creek Campground. It isn’t technical, just long. Emerald Pools. A well-maintained dirt track allows cars to drive close to this oasis, leaving just a little under a mile of flat trail to the creek. And the solitude in these areas is magnificent. Learn about swimming holes such as Bullpen Day Use Area, Blodgett Basin Trail No. Even though we visited in early spring, the weather was already starting to warm up quite a bit. While they are all worth exploring, the crown jewel of the region is West Clear Creek. If you’re ambitious enough, climb further up and you’ll find yet another swimming hole. Bring layers. When you think of a swimming hole, this is probably what you envisage: a large volume of water cascading into a big, deep pond flanked by 20-metre cliffs. Leslie. Coconino sandstone walls encase the lush canyon. You will know that you’re exiting the central portion of West Clear Creek when you come to Big Spring. The West Clear Creek Wilderness, established in 1984, is a narrow but lengthy wilderness that follows the contours of West Clear Creek from its western terminus at Bull Pen Ranch to the headwaters of Willow Creek and Clover Creek to the north and east. These 10 West Virginia swimming holes are guaranteed to give you a splashing good time. You’ll come up to a natural waterslide that plunges into the swimming hole area. Prepare for at least one hour of off-road driving in a high clearance vehicle. Do keep in mind that the water’s temperature here is quite cold, even in the summer months. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. The single advantage to this method is cost, which is in the $10 range—whatever the going rate is for pool toys. (34°33’28.7″N 111°25’13.7″W). More Links . Less crowded is the Blue Hole. Most of the hikers in the canyon enter at Bull Pen State Park in the southern end of the canyon. You can only imagine the noise and scattered mess of gear at the bottom upon our arrival. You just need to follow "Swimming Hole" signs. Fun for kids, teens, adults. Metzler Park (Clackamas County Parks) Contributors . Your email address will not be published. In those days, we never encountered any other folk–just lots of trout and deer–and all that magnificent scenery. This is a popular spot with an attractive kid friendly freshwater swimming hole and creek area. First Post - West Clear Creek - Tramway Trail This beautiful canyon offers natural springs, secret side canyons, and ample pools for fishing and swimming. The waterfall is gorgeous, but it’s the setting and the remote nature of the swimming hole that provide the wow factor here. Natural Atlas is powered by contributors like you. Tweet Share Email. It takes some route finding along the creek and negotiating some slippery rocks once in the creek but the payoff seems worth it. Once on the canyon floor you will find yourself at a very shallow part of the creek. The back road from Phoenix to Flagstaff, via state highway 87 through Payson, combines the two experiences. Hikers should plan for limited connectivity anywhere upriver from Bull Pen. PHOTO . Also, before venturing out into primitive wilderness areas with lightly marked, or unmarked trails, you should brush up on your navigation skills and do your own independent research of the area. Find the best places to swim near Clear Creek Campground. Hike to the … Nearby Hotels. May 4, 2012 - This is the closest we have been to a complete group on our overnights. 0 Star This. Local legend says the 8-year-old son of a rancher discovered the spot in the 1880s, and overheated locals and … If non-technical canyoneering and low-impact camping is your thing, you’ll be hard pressed to find a nicer place to pass a warm summer weekend. This moderately easy to reach swimming hole is located about 15 miles east of Camp Verde along West Clear Creek. At .8 miles, you will come to the first of four creek crossings. The water is always pretty cold so go in early Summer through early Fall when the temps are above 85 degrees.There are more areas to explore further down stream if you are into some bush whack and more slippery rocks. 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