From its origin near Clints Well up on the Mogollon Rim to where it enters the Verde River below Camp Verde, West Clear Creek winds for nearly forty miles through some of the most stunningly beautiful terrain in Arizona. In its upper thirty miles, the part that is designated wilderness, West Clear Creek is entirely canyon-bound, offering access to only the few and the hardy.
As it travels to the Verde River, West Clear Creek passes through soaring cliffs of creamy Coconino sandstone and vermilion Supai siltstone, which lend their colors to the narrows called the White and Red Boxes. There are hanging gardens of maidenhair fern, red monkeyflower, and scarlet penstemon. There are New Mexico locust, cottonwood, Arizona walnut, willow, alder, Gambel oak, box elder, bigtooth maple, Douglas fir, and ponderosa pine. Century plant grows high on the rim; Hiking trails at either end of the wilderness provide the only access to the creek. For the remainder of its length, West Clear Creek is a “swim-float” canyon. Some backpackers carry small, inflatable vinyl rafts and paddles; others stuff their gear into heavy-duty trash bags that trap enough air to float a backpack. This trail guide covers an area with 10.2 miles of trails.
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