West Clear Creek Trail No. 17
This trail provides the only marked and maintained access to the lower reaches of West Clear Creek Wilderness. From its western terminus at Bull Pen Ranch at the canyon mouth, the trail leads upstream into the deep, narrow gorge which West Clear Creek has cut from the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau.
The first 1.5 miles of trail are more open and exposed, but after crossing the wilderness boundary, the canyon narrows and stream crossings are frequent. This first section of trail attracts large numbers of anglers, picnickers, and other streamside recreationists attracted by the clear pools, slickrock water slides, and tree-shaded riparian areas tucked away between red rock canyon walls.
From the trail's upper terminus, at Bald Hill, the route drops 1,800 feet down a steep, talus-strewn slope from a high plateau of pinyon-juniper forests to the canyon floor. Aside from this hill, the trail contains occasional short but steep inclines and declines.
From start to finish, this trail covers riparian habitats on the canyon floor to exposed, craggy stretches across canyon walls. Be advised that there are 4 creek crossings on this trail, ranging from knee-height to impassable depending on time of year, weather, and flood stages. While refreshing in the summer and a welcome challenge for those seeking a true wilderness experience, these crossings can be dangerous and flooding can be rapid and unexpected.
Wilderness areas are rare, wild places set aside by Congress where the land is allowed to retain its natural state, serving as a natural haven for humans to escape modern civilization and for nature to be itself. To help minimize human impacts in wilderness and maintain its character, several laws and regulations have been put in place and we ask that visitors practice "Leave No Trace ethics."
At a Glance
|Closest Towns:||Camp Verde, AZ|
|Operated By:||Red Rock District - 928-203-2900|
Location: 52 miles southeast of Flagstaff on paved and graveled roads in scenic red rock country.
Access: Drive 40 miles south of Flagstaff on Interstate 17. Leave the highway at the AZ 179 exit and turn east under the freeway. Drive about 9 miles on FR 618 to FR 215 and turn east about 3 miles to the Bullpen Ranch trailhead.
Or, turn east off FR 618 on FR 214 about 8 miles from the highway and turn east 4.7 miles to the Bald Hill Road. Follow this primitive road about 1 mile to a rock-pile cairn that marks the trailhead.
GPS (Map): 34°32'24.8"N 111°42'28.1"W
- Forest Service Topo Map (FSTopo Geo-enable PDF):
Click map thumbnail for a larger view.
Hiking time: 4.5 hrs
Do not disturb cultural/archeology sites (Antiquity’s Act 1906)
No motorized equipment or vehicles allowed. (Wilderness Act 1964)
No motorized or mechanized transport (ie... bicycles, strollers, etc) allowed. (Wilderness Act 1964)
Leave No Trace: Recognize your role in preserving wild lands by practicing these Leave No Trace principles:
- Plan ahead and prepare.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize campfire impacts.
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of other visitors.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information