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West Clear Creek Professional Review and Guide
"Extending east for 30 sinuous miles from the Camp Verde area, West Clear Creek is the longest drainage on the Mogollon Rim. Nearly 2,000 feet deep in places, this canyon system is a real delight to explore, for it features not only rugged beauty but also an interesting array of flora and fauna. A good introduction to this spectacular drainage is the West Clear Creek Trail, which extends upstream from the canyon’s mouth."
--Scott S. Warren, 100 Classic Hikes Arizona (The Mountaineers Books).
Bull Pen Ranch on West Clear Creek
The boys of Boy Scout Troop 329 went on an overnight campout to Bull Pen Ranch on West Clear Creek just east of Camp Verde, Arizona. Bull Pen Ranch is located in Coconino National Forest. To get there, you take route 260 out of Camp Verde for about seven miles. Between mile posts 226 & 227, you turn left onto Forest Road 618 following the signs for Bull Pen Ranch. After about two miles, turn right onto FR 215 and go an additional two miles to the end where we parked our SUVs at the start of the hiking trail.
It was about a mile and a half hike in to where we camped. All around it was lush green forest with wildlife such as squirrels, fox, and deer. There were only about 10 scouts that went on this campout. They were six Venture, four Boy Scouts, and three adults.
The boys hiked a half a mile until the trail forked. One way led to an old ranch house, which the roof was caved in and cacti were growing out of the river rock walls and foundation. The other way led to our campsite that was across the river. On this campout, we went to a swimming hole with about a 9 foot deep pool of water. All of the venture patrol went swimming in the 60oF water for about 10 minutes.
The boys camped and set up their tents on upper river's sandbanks where the water would be during floods to minimize impact. The entire ground area was river rock and sand, it looked as if when the water level was at its flood height it was only water and then forest.
We recommend this campout spot again to go to. It was a great time of the year for this location.
Reported By Alex H. Troop 329 Historian
Easy hiking down in the Clear Creek canyon. Parts of the trail climb the cliff sides for a good view of the creek. Be ready for water crossings because there are a few of them along the way.
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