General Information: This trail provides the only marked and maintained access to the lower reaches of West Clear Creek Canyon Wilderness. From its western terminus at Bull Pen Ranch at the canyon mouth, the trail leads upstream into the deep, narrow gorge which medium-sized West Clear Creek has cut into the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. The downstream end of the trail attracts large numbers of anglers, picnickers, and other stream side recreationists attracted by the clear pools, slick rock 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. It then winds its way downstream along a stretch of secluded pools and rocky riffles. Bring your wading shoes on this one, you'll have to cross the stream at least four times. In times of high runoff, this trail can be impassable. In the middle of a hot desert summer you'll appreciate the opportunity to cool off.
NOTES: No mechanical vehicles in Wilderness, respect private property boundaries. Steep sections of this trail can be a problem to a hiker loaded with a heavy backpack.
Directions: From Flagstaff, Drive 40 miles south 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.
Elevation: 5,600 feet
Ending Elevation: 4,000 feet
Elevation Gain: 1,600 feet
Distance: 7.5 miles
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Coconino National Forest, Arizona
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